In honor of national Law Day, the law firm Harter, Secrest & Emery LLP in Rochester entertained and educated 134 local students May 5 with its 13th annual mock trial play at the Memorial Art Gallery.
A cast of HSE lawyers and staff performed “Goldy Locks v. Mama and Papa Bear” for fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students from Rochester Schools 4 and 29, who also played the role of the jury.
“Our annual Law Day plays are a fun way to share memorable lessons in law with students,” said Tom Smith, a partner at HSE, who has written and directed the annual plays since they started in 2000. “While the children usually reach a fair decision in the end, it’s great to see how animated and opinionated they are when it comes to their open jury deliberations.”
In the play, Goldy Locks becomes violently ill and is hospitalized after tasting Mama Bear’s “Grizzly Bear Poisonberry Porridge.” Before ruling in favor of the bears, the student jury was confronted with key legal questions, such as:
• What standards of care should be applied to the adult bears and the 11-year-old girl?
• Should the bears have foreseen that a human would taste their poisonous porridge?
• Was it reasonable for Goldy to believe that the porridge was safe for her to taste?
• Should the bears have posted a warning sign near the pot?
• Do all harms require someone to pay compensation in the form of money damages?
The cast was comprised of eight players, along with two “jury advisors,” to introduce the play and elicit comments about the evidence from the student jury as part of the post-trial “deliberations” before calling for a majority verdict by a show of hands.
Cast members were:
• Anant Kishore as Judge Yogi
• Brad Salai, Goldy Locks, the plaintiff
• Tom Smith, Mr. Gummy, the plaintiff’s attorney
• Brian Feldman, Dr. Sal Monella, plaintiff’s physician, expert witness
• Maura McGuire, Mama Bear
• David Archer, Papa Bear
• Kyra Keller, Ms. Koala, defendants’ attorney
• Carmen Green, court bailiff
• John Bringewatt and Jessica Myers, jury advisors.
Prior productions have included Second Little Pig v. The Gone with the Wind Construction Co., Humpty Dumpty v. The Greatwall Construction Co., The Hamelin Association of Rats v. Mayor Polly Piper and King Midas v. Al Chemy.
Celebrated annually on May 1, the bar association observes Law Day to commemorate the rule of law, the judiciary and its place in American society.
— Photos courtesy Harter, Secrest & Emery