The LEAP Center runs SHSU’s Moot Court team, and students have been working feverishly to prepare for the upcoming scrimmage (October 9-10) and tournament (October 23-24). The Moot Court is a great way for students to prepare for law school, and it combines people’s greatest fear (public speaking) with pre-law students’ greatest anxiety (preparing for law school)!
SHSU’s Moot Court team consists of six students: Kaitlyn Tyra, Alex Galvan, Austin Campbell, James Perry, Chelsea King, and Kristyn Couvillion. They receive no academic credit for being on the team, but it is something that law schools look at, and if done correctly, can result in enhanced skills, increased confidence, a resume entry, and even a letter of recommendation. Their coach is Jean Loveall, a Program Coordinator for the LEAP Center, professor of the pre-law cohort, and an attorney who received her JD from SMU School of Law. Mike Yawn is the LEAP Center director, and he helps out when needed.
The Process and Timeline
The Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association provides the Moot Court problem in May, and students and coaches work on the problem over the summer and early fall. After much reading (the entire problem consists of 19 cases, each average 15-20 pages) and many questions, the coach has a better idea of who is ready and who isn’t. If necessary, the coach may cut team members who are not putting in the necessary work or who aren’t showing the necessary improvement. Some students, after getting a better sense of what attorneys do, change their mind about being on the team.
By September, team members should be ready for public, semi-formal practices. In the last month, for example, the SHSU Team has engaged in two practices . Local attorneys served as judges, and the students got their chance to show their stuff in a courtroom setting, while having questions fired at them.
It can be rough going, but it is also rewarding.
Students have the chance to improve their critical thinking skills, their understanding of legal and political issues, and their ability to think on their feet.
October is the month for the formal scrimmage and the tournament. This year, scrimmages will be held at St. Mary’s and UNT Law schools. SHSU chose to participate in the UNT law school scrimmage because all three of its teams could participate (St. Mary’s limited participation to two teams). This scrimmage will take place October 9-10. Although the performances do not count in the point system determining whether a team goes to finals, it’s an important performance. Coaches assess the students’ performances and have the chance to make final team assignments for the tournament.
Teams consist of two members, and both argue in front of the three justices, with time roughly split between the two members.
This year, the tournaments are held at Texas Tech Law School and Texas A&M law school. SHSU is participating in Tech’s tournament on October 23-24. This is the real deal, and the winners of this tournament will go to Nationals in Washington, DC, which are held in January.
Loveall and Yawn are always on the lookout for potential members. Some students, for example, watched the practice moot court proceedings to see what might be in store for them next year. Other activities also provide Loveall and Yawn the opportunity to find students who have strong oral communication skills, a knowledge of basic law and politics, the desire to become an attorney, and a strong work ethic.