A Future in Law: Moot Court, Day 1

By Beatriz Martinez

124 competitors. All impeccably dressed in suits. All vigorously trained. All eager for the challenge ahead. All vying for that one top prestigious position. All gathered at the University of North Texas College of Law where the beginning of something intriguing and educational was about to commence.

On October 21st, participants arrived at their very first Moot Court Scrimmage of the year. More than 13 different schools from all over the region had come to partake in this unique event. In the midst of all of this was the SHSU Moot Court team, comprised of Kaitlyn Tyra, Alejandra Galvan, Austin Taylor, Kristyn Couvillion, Bryan Rodriguez, and Beatriz Martinez. Since the beginning of the school year, these future attorneys have been preparing for an extremely challenging competition. Not only would they have to prove their worth to their opponents, but also to the law students, lawyers, and other experts in judicial procedures that would be serving as judges.

Moot Court, SHSU, LEAP Center

“Being in the moot court is very tough and challenges its competitors in ways most would otherwise not experience until they attend law school,” noted Mooter Kaitlyn Tyra.

The competition lasted for two days, whereupon each round included two moot court teams (comprised of two people) that presented in front of a panel of judges and argued on both sides of the problem case at bar. After the end of the first day, only the top 32 teams would go on to the next day for their second set of rounds.

Students spend much time reading case briefs, analyzing them, preparing their arguments, and presenting them in practices. Moot court helps enhance public speaking (which is most people’s worst nightmare), increasing confidence, time management, literacy improvement, and other essential qualities to succeed in law-driven career. It also enhances a student’s law-school resume.

Moot Court, UNT, SHSU, LEAP Center

Having arrived a bit early, SHSU’s six moot court members decided to go over their arguments a bit more before the competition began. After their diligent preparations, the SHSU students decided to go eat at the local Italian restaurant, Porta di Roma. A local favorite among the UNT students, this quaint, little restaurant offered succulent Italian dishes. Known for its amazing pizza, many of the students decided to try the special of the day. Others were a bit more adventurous and tasted the lasagna.

As 1 pm approached, the SHSU students headed back to the UNT campus to wait for the real adventure to begin. Each team was destined to go through three different rounds, competing against different teams during each round.  Judges evaluated each speaker on the basis of their knowledge, argument organization, forensic skill, and response to questions.

When the last round ended, everyone met back at the common area of the UNT campus and waited anxiously for the results to come in.Most of us ranked near the middle of the pack, in the mid-50s or mid-60s, but Austin Taylor ranked among the top third of students, coming in at 38th (out of 124 participants).

Then the results everyone had been waiting for arrived. Out of 62 teams, only 32 could advance to the second day. One of our SHSU Moot Court teams made it onto the Round of 32! Austin Taylor (one of the first-year students) and Kristyn Couvillion (a second-year student) made it to the second round. Our team let out a great victorious whoop (customary if one of your teammates manages to advance).


Finally, the end of the day arrived and everyone went home to rest after a day full of challenges. That is except for Austin and Kristyn, who had one more day of suits, challenges, and a day of tantalizing victory for the number one spot.

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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