ABA “Law Day” occurs every May, which often turns into law-month events. Like our Constitutional Law Day, which morphed into constitutional month, we’d like to say that for us lawyers, Law Day is, and should be, every day! Enjoy this recap of the recent Law Day event in Rutland.
The Rutland County Bar Association continued its 30+ year tradition of a Law Day Mock Trial, hosting over 200 area 5th graders from eight different schools in performances at the Rutland County Courthouse. The theme this year was “Beauty and the Beast,” in a case featuring the Beast suing Belle for damages suffered after she negligently ran into the woods and he fought off the wolves to save her. A second count involved her conversion of the magic mirror.
Rutland lawyer Karl Anderson provided the outline of the script and represented Belle, played by Vermont Law School student Toni Girardi (who informed the audience in the Q and A period after the trial that she had attended a Law School Mock Trial when she was a West Rutland 5th grader, and was inspired to attend law school as a result). Benson lawyer Lisa Chalidze represented the Beast, played convincingly by Rutland lawyer Tom Bixby. Rutland lawyer Jim Levins affected a heavy French accent to play Lumiere, complete with belting out several stanzas of “Be Our Guest,” until Presiding Judge John Valente invited him to be his guest and step down from the witness stand!
Windsor County Deputy State’s Attorney Glenn Barnes played “Chip,” offering the key testimony in each performance. RCBA President and VBA Probate Section Co-Chair Bob Pratt welcomed the students at the morning performance, and VBA Executive Director and RCBA Secretary/Treasurer Teri Corsones welcomed the students at the afternoon performance. She also served as bailiff assisting the randomly selected student jurors as they deliberated. Unlike most jury drawings, these jurors responded with great enthusiasm upon hearing their names called!
Judge Valente’s father, Retired Judge Silvio Valente, started the Law Day Mock Trial tradition 32 years ago; the tradition was carried forward for many years by Joan Wing and Karl Anderson, and is carried forward now by Karl Anderson and Teri Corsones. It’s been a great way to introduce thousands of students to our system of justice in an entertaining and educational way. Here’s a LINK to the front-page Rutland Herald story about the production.
Please help make Law Day every day and feel free to share any other Law Day activities that you’d like us to post! If you’d like a copy of the mock trial materials, please contact Karl Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.