Now an assistant attorney general in the Criminal Justice Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Nestleroth defends
the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and its employees
against lawsuits brought by inmates. In her current role, she continues
to build on skills she developed during the three seasons she
participated in the Mock Trial program at Westerville North High School.
who earned her undergraduate degree from Ohio Wesleyan University
before graduating from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law,
strongly recommends Ohio’s Mock Trial program. “Regardless of their
interests,” she says, “any student can benefit from the public speaking
and confidence-building aspects of the High School Mock Trial program.”
High School Mock Trial program taught me a number of invaluable skills
that cannot be learned from a textbook,” Nestleroth said. “It taught me
how to be an advocate for a position while still seeing the issue from
both sides, which makes it easier to anticipate, and then counter, your
opponent’s position.” She added, “It also taught me professionalism and
how to conduct myself with poise in a formal setting. It gave me
confidence in public speaking.”
Understanding the workings of the law and government is an essential element for almost any career field. Jeffrey Houser,
a Columbus attorney, notes, “Understanding how those systems work is
beneficial to anyone.” He also credits OCLRE’s programs with increasing
his interest in the law.
Houser says that his participation in OCLRE’s We the People program in high school solidified his desire to pursue a career as a lawyer. In addition to his involvement with the We the People program, Houser took a high school honors debate class that made use of OCLRE Mock Trial materials.
went on to attend Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he earned a
B.A. in political science and later received his law degree from The
Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. After he was admitted to
the practice of law, he became an associate with Crabbe, Brown &
James, where he has practiced law for 11 years.
says, “As a lawyer, my work always involves a thorough review of the
underlying facts, analysis and understanding of the law at issue, and
application of the facts to the law in order to advocate for my client's
interest.” He notes that these are core skills that he developed
through in-class mock trial and We the People. Like Nestleroth,
he believes that these skills “can't be learned strictly from a book,
but must be practiced over and over again in order to be effective.”
relies on its teachers, mentors, coaches, and judges to run their
programs and support the students involved. These volunteers, in return,
receive a unique experience that can inspire their own passions while
helping students discover theirs.
a practicing attorney, Houser regularly volunteers his time for OCLRE
programs. Not only does he judge Mock Trial and We the People
competitions, but he has also served as a legal advisor to the
Reynoldsburg High School and Ft. Hayes High School Mock Trial teams.
Nestleroth has also volunteered her time to judge Mock Trial
As participants in the competitions, these practicing
lawyers give students the opportunity to present their cases before
legal professionals. This helps to create an authentic experience that
is essential to the success of these OCLRE programs.
the most well-known of the OCLRE programs is the High School Mock Trial
program, Ohio’s largest high school academic competition. Students from
across the state participate in an original, unscripted trial scenario
based on a constitutional issue. With guidance from teachers and
volunteer legal advisors, students use witness statements to build a
case, which they must prepare to argue from both sides.
In addition to Mock Trial, OCLRE offers several other programs for students, including We the People, Youth for Justice and Project Citizen.
These programs focus on such areas as constitutional government, civic
responsibility and how to monitor and influence public policy. OCLRE’s
programs provide practical law-related information to students and
teachers, help develop students’ problem-solving and critical thinking
skills and encourage positive engagement between students and the
OCLRE is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization whose goal is to improve society by developing citizens empowered with an understanding of our democratic system. The Supreme Court of Ohio, Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Ohio State Bar Association and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation sponsor OCLRE. Additionally, some programs are funded in part by grants from the Ohio State Bar Foundation
. For more information, visit www.oclre.org
The Ohio State Bar Association, founded in 1880, is a voluntary association representing approximately 25,000 members of the bench and bar of Ohio as well as nearly 4,000 legal assistants and law students. Through its activities and the activities of its related organizations, the OSBA serves both its members and the public by promoting the highest standards in the practice of law and the administration of justice.