Lubbock, Law, and the LSAT

For SHSU’s Moot Court team members, this weekend promised to be a full one.  We headed to Lubbock on Thursday, leaving campus around 1:00pm.  With a tournament on Friday and Saturday, the weekend was sufficiently stressful, but half the team members were also set to get their LSAT scores, adding a bit of stress and spice to a long weekend.

The weekend’s tournament is being held at Texas Tech Law School.  Thirty teams from Texas (plus the powerhouse US Air Force team) will be on hand to compete.  As a sign of the rigor involved, 43 teams originally signed up, but more than a third of these teams dropped out in the week prior to the competition, despite having already paid admission fees.  Preparation for this competition involves reading 19 cases (approximately 20 pages each), and practicing extensively on body language and speech delivery.  We may not win, but all of us are better speakers and more knowledgeable about the law as a result of our work.

With that in mind, we headed west after our Thursday classes. There’s not a lot between Huntsville and Lubbock, Texas, and that made for a long drive, although this did give us some study/prep time, helped on by our coach, Jean Loveall.

Moot_Court_Studying_WebThe drive was made longer by bad weather most of the way.

West_TX_Sky_WebAnd then the drive got more stressful around 6pm, when our three senior members got emails indicating their LSAT scores were available.  Well, this made the drive much more interesting!  After some group discussion, the three seniors decided to postpone opening their emails until they got to the hotel.

Around 8pm, we pulled in to Perini Ranch steakhouse, which is in Buffalo Gap, Texas (about six miles south of Abilene).  The steakhouse’s origins date back to 1973, when Tom Perini began catering for private affairs.  He opened his steakhouse in 1983.  The restaurant did well, but business took off in 1995, when the New York Times recognized his steaks as the “mail-order gift of the year.”  With that recognition, profiles in Texas Highways and Texas Monthly followed, and at the beginning of the G. W. Bush presidency, Perini was asked to serve steaks to members of congress from the White House lawn.  It was a memorable day–not because of the steaks, but because it was scheduled for Tuesday, September 11, 2001.  The “steakout” didn’t happen, at least not on that day, as the history-altering terrorist attacks forced a cancellation.  More happily, Tom and Lisa Perini were invited back to the White House the next year, and the event proved successful.

Thankfully, our dinner lacked international dramatics and, despite the looming LSAT score discovery process, we were able to try some new foods and enjoy the steak.  For appetizers, we all tried “Quail Legs,” which was a new dish for about half of us.  For the entree, we all ordered steaks, which we split.  The steaks have a great flavor, a product of, among other things, a great “streak rub” (which, incidentally, is for sale online and in the restaurant store). For dessert, we had bread pudding (great!), chocolate cake (I didn’t sample, but it got good reviews), and in an experimental flourish, “Jalapeno Cheesecake.” It was very good!

Special mention should be made of the fact that Austin ate three whole jalapenos during dinner. There was no real explanation for this act of self-torture, other than some sort of behavioral distraction from his impending LSAT discovery.  On a related note, Austin also drank six glasses of water at dinner.

After the obligatory pose at the giant armadillo outside of Perini Ranch…


…we settled in for our final stretch.  We got in at midnight, when the students wasted no time accessing their LSAT scores. The students have worked hard to position themselves for law schools, and their work has paid off.  Armed with solid to strong LSAT scores and excellent grades, their work has been a model for the younger members of the team.

And on that happy note, we moved on to our rooms, hoping to get some rest prior to our competition on Friday!

Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Huron Daily Tribune, Laredo Morning Times, Beaumont Enterprise, Connecticut Post, and Midland Reporter Telegram. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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