Moot Court Scrimmage, 2017

By Beatriz Martinez

After months of preparation, the SHSU Moot Court team had their first competition at The University of Texas Arlington. The scrimmage had everyone very excited, as everyone was ready to give it their best. We have 3 teams composed of three veterans and three new members. It was the moment of truth where we would see how far our hard work and dedication would take us.

May it Please the Court, We represent SHSU- Moot Court Day 1
By Beatriz Martinez

As hopeful lawyers in training, the 6 of us headed to the University of Texas Arlington for our first Moot Court Competition of the year. Various universities gather together after around six months of preparation. One “problem case” has been given to them, arguing two different legal issues. In this case, the issues we are addressing are the Fifth and Eight Amendments. The Moot Court competitors take the time to study these cases as well as 8-10 supporting actual cases that they use in order to create their arguments. Later, they go to a school, often times a law school, to present their case to a panel of judges made up of law students, law professors, lawyers, and even an occasional judge. Competitors are scored depending on their presentation skills, their quick thinking, knowledge of the case at bar, supporting cases, and of course their arguments!

SHSU Moot Court, LEAP Center, UTA, TUMCA

Everyone was nervous, but we played it off with our cool, professional lawyer-like demeanor. We had all prepared to the best of our abilities and were ready to give it our best. After signing in, we scouted the school to find where our “courtrooms” were. During Moot Court competitions, the competitors do not know which side they will be representing, whether it be for the petitioner (the person appealing the lower court’s decision) or the respondent (the other side, of course!). There are three rounds from which the top 16 teams are chosen. These top teams would then advance to the second day of the competition.

As soon as everyone got their opponents, the competition began. It was a tumultuous time for all. After the last round ended, everyone gathered together in the common area for the final results of which of the 25 teams would be able to advance to the second day of competition as part of the Top 16 teams. We were excited to find out that Austin Taylor (a second-year competitor) and Kristyn Couvillion (a third-year competitor) had made it to the second day!

Moot Court Day 2
By Beatriz Martinez

After a long night of prepping, Kristyn and Austin headed back for the second round of competitions. We all got settled in for the coordinator to let us know who their competitors would be and which side they would have to argue. Of course, Kristyn and Austin used that extra time to get focused and continue their preparation in order to succeed in this next round.

SHSU Moot Court, LEAP Center, UTA, TUMCA

Meanwhile, the rest of us tried our best to help them as much as possible by going on a quick Starbucks run and took the opportunity to explore the University of Arlington as well. UTA just so happened to have similar spirit colors as ours with theirs being blue, orange, and white. They also had various interesting art pieces such as their spirit horses which they have scattered across campus and serve as a way to engage the students in art. There is one in particular that we liked the best (for obvious reasons) named “Dynamic” which we definitely were feeling at the moment. We also took a moment to take a picture with one of the many interesting fountains housed at UTA.

SHSU Moot Court, LEAP Center, UTA, TUMCA

Finally, we headed back to continue to cheer on our team. The results were in and the competitors were ready to accept the challenge ahead. Before the competition started, we took a picture of solidarity between the two teams.

It was a very close round with only a difference of 20 points. Sadly, our team did not advance more than that. As a consolation, we headed on to a Mediterranean Grill called Andalous, which had a variety of plates from different regions. The food was delicious and we greatly enjoyed not only the food but also the multitude of learning experiences we had gotten from the last two days. The SHSU team was more determined than ever to improve and do a lot better in our next competition at Texas A&M Law School on November 4th. For now, everyone was headed back to Huntsville to prepare, except for me since I had a flight to catch to meet the other LEAP Ambassadors in Washington D.C.

 

Moot Court Competition–2016

By: Kaitlyn Tyra

With nearly six months of preparation and almost as many months of anxiety, the SHSU Mooters were ready to compete in the final moot court competition of the season. Hosted at Texas A&M Law School in Fort Worth, 31 teams from across the state and the southern United States competed for spots at the National Competition.

Moot Court, TUMCA, TAMU Law Moot Court Regional, LEAP Center, SHSU

After waking up, we faced a morning of studying and non-stop practicing in anticipation to our afternoon’s competition.

Moot Court, SHSU, LEAP Center, TAMU Moot Court Regional

Once we were given our room assignments, pairings, and rules, each team departed for their first round. The competition consisted of three back-to-back rounds that would determine the day’s rankings according to mastery of material, presentation, response to questions, and courtroom demeanor. Throughout the day, it was slightly intimidating how we would be contending spots against students from such universities as University of North Texas, The Air Force Academy, Texas A&M, and Baylor.

Moot Court, TUMCA, TAMU Law Moot Court Regional, LEAP Center, SHSU

As each round progressed, our nerves slowly diminished and we felt more confident that our studying was paying off. After the third round, we regrouped for a much needed dinner catered by Texas A&M Law School.

Moot Court, TUMCA, TAMU Law Moot Court Regional, LEAP Center, SHSU

As we enjoyed our meal and waited for results, we conversed with a couple Texas A&M Law School students to know more about life in law school. We also shared opinions among ourselves regarding our the day’s competition. Reminiscing on the day’s toils, we reflected on what we could have done better and what we did well.

After what seemed like hours of waiting, the tournament director announced the advancements and speaker awards. Unfortunately, SHSU did not advance to the second day of competition. Regardless, we noticed how each SHSU team had improved from the scrimmage and earned higher scores, with four of the SHSU students finishing in the top half of orators.

The outcome reminded us that sometimes winning or losing is not what matters. What really matters is that we learn and whether we are more prepared for our future careers. For each member, we thought we achieved this goal throughout the season.

Moot Court, TUMCA, TAMU Law Moot Court Regional, LEAP Center, SHSU

We ended the day on a positive note taking our group pictures in the courtroom!


After working hard and competing in the Moot Court Regional Tournament, on Saturday the team set out for sightseeing across Fort Worth. We visited the Amon G. Carter Art Museum, the Fort Worth Water Gardens, and the famous Sundance Square.

The Amon G. Carter Art Museum is a free art museum dedicated to 19th and 20th Century American Art.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Moot Court, Amon Carter Art Museum

Opening its doors in 1961, the businessman and philanthropist Amon Carter’s goal in erecting the museum was to educate Fort Worthians in American Art. With Carter’s personal collection comprising the early galleries of the museum, the establishment has now grown to include a diverse collection of art. From artists such as Fredric Remington to Georgia O’Keefe…

SHSU, LEAP Center, Moot Court, Amon Carter, Georgia O'Keefe

…the museum leads visitors through various decades in American art history. Among the halls was a more contemporary exhibition titled “Border Cantos.” In the exhibit, Photographer Richard Misrach and Composer Guillermo Galindo, depict the US/Mexican border through impactful photographs and music that reflect immigrant life along the borders.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Moot Court, Amon Carter Museum of Art

As the photographs depict a solitary and barren border, visitors felt a deep emotional connection to the people affected everyday by the walls, fences, and wire the divide the American and Mexican territory. This exhibit proved to be the team’s favorite in the end.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Moot Court, Amon Carter Museum of Art

After exploring the museum and learning about American Art, we were excited to move on to our next stop: the Fort Worth Water Gardens.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Moot Court, Fort Worth Water Park

Designed by Philip Johnson, the urban park provides a soothing atmosphere to escape from the mundane city life (and moot court). The park is composed of adjoining water gardens which visitors can explore.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Moot Court, Fort Worth Water Park

True to our millennial drives, we enjoyed taking selfies and pictures of the garden. The Water Garden was an unexpected treat that everyone enjoyed!

Our mini Fort Worth tour sadly ended with lunch at Bird Café in Sundance Square.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Moot Court, Bird Cafe

Revived with the help of Richard Haas’s Chisholm Trail mural, the Square is now the center of shopping and entertainment in downtown Fort Worth.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Moot Court, Sundance Square

In the midst of the cultural hive, The Bird Cafe as a very popular brunch joint, offered many unique dishes. We each tried something different (for different was the only thing the Cafe offered) such as Carne Asada Waffles, an Avocado Omelet, and the Hickory Smoked Chuck Burger. After our delicious platters, we decided to finish our meals with a sweet closing. So being, we chose to visit a nearby chocolate factory!

SHSU, Moot Court, LEAP Center, The Chocalate Factory

The Chocolate Factory was a fun and tasty last stop on our trip. We immensely enjoyed sampling numerous sweet treats. With full stomachs and a nap waiting for us in our van seats, we departed Worth Wort to make our way back to Huntsville.

Many thanks to Texas A&M Law School for hosting the TUMCA Moot Court Competition and to Ms. Loveall for all her hard work and dedication to our teams success!

 

A Future in Law: Moot Court Scrimmage, Day 2

By Alex Galvan

“Sam Houston State vs Baylor” blared the speakers.  But this wasn’t a football game.  Instead, it was a Moot Court playoff round, albeit still in the scrimmage stage.

The teams made their way up towards the front of the room for a coin toss to let fate decide whom they would represent, the petitioner or the respondent.  As our team members–consisting of Austin Taylor and Kristyn Couvillion–won the toss, they chose the petitioner role.


About three hours prior to that coin toss, our alarms blasted, and we rose from bed to hastily get ready for our exciting second day of the UNT Invitational Moot Court Tournament.  This invitational is especially helpful to the new team members as it provides them a chance to see and experience a real tournament.  Additionally, it prepares them for the regional competition which will take place on November 18th – 19th at Texas Tech.

While navigating the inner streets of Dallas, Kristyn Couvillion and Austin Taylor began mentally preparing for their competition of the day. Their hard work and dedication had paid off as they had made it to the top 32! Kaitlyn, Bryan, Beatriz and I were excited to support our advancing team in their competitive endeavor of the day.

When we arrived at UNT Law school, we checked in, and went up to the meeting room where all of the other schools waited in anticipation for the rounds to be announced. Each round would consist of two teams pinned against each other from the top 32 teams that were announced the day before, Kristen and Austin included in those teams.

Moot Court, UNT Invitational, LEAP Center, SHSU

We sat in anticipation waiting for the three judges to arrive so that the round would begin. We observed and quietly rooted for our team members while they argued their case with passion and quick mindedness. By watching both of the teams, we also gained skills.  After the judges had scored both teams and offered their advice, we rushed back to the meeting room and waited in agony for the results to be announced. The round was decided in a 2 to 1 split decision, in favor of Baylor.

Even though we had no further advancements in the Invitational, we stayed to watch Josue and David, two students whom we had befriended at our Boot Camp. During the competition, we were impressed by the poise and arguments of the opposing team from the Air Force Academy. Sadly, Josue and David did not advance, but the team which they were against actually ended up placing first for the entire competition!

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After the round we decided that it was time to bid UNT farewell and ease into dinner. After much arguing (and still more to decide on dinner) we finally decided to visit a small sidewalk café, the Veracruz Café. With a motto to “Celebrate life,”  the restaurant adequately captured the Veracruz spirit of amazing cuisine and beautiful vistas. Consisting of various herbs and spices, there was a myriad of flavorful dishes to be tasted. The Café brought to us a little bit of Veracruz with food ranging from MesoAmerican, Mayan, Huasteco, and Aztec cuisine. Everyone chose their preferred food choice. Dishes ranged from an enormous fajita plate to a spicy chile relleno, from crunchy flautas to cheesy quesadillas. Every single dish as scrumptious as the other.

After we finished our lunch at the Veracruz Café, we decided to go explore the variety of shops that lined along the Bishop Art District. Chairs lining an old gas-station-turned-furniture-store, people milling around, enticing smells, and interesting window displays worked like a hypnotic swirl of curiosities that compelled us to immerse ourselves deeper into the street. Among the stores was an art gallery which we visited called the Ginger Fox Art Gallery.

A West Texas native, Ginger Fox was a self-taught artist disciplined in painting murals, trompe l’oeil, grisaille, and replicating the masters. Her style of magical realism was reflected on her canvases which meshed real and imaginary dimensions together with the purpose of invocating thoughts of how we, as humans, can better coexist with the natural world. We got to see various of this style in the art gallery. One in particular caught our attention.

Moot Court, SHSU, LEAP Center, Bishop Arts District

There was a picture of Queen Elizabeth made entirely of blurry paint chips, making it almost impossible to disambiguate the painting. However, when looked at through a camera, the pixelated image grew into sharper focus.

We the wonderful art gallery as our last stop we decided to end our trip and head on home. After a long day of tiresome litigation, exotic eatery, and mind boggling art, nothing compared to the quiet, peaceful ride down I45 back to Huntsville.

 

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).

moot_court_scrimmage_group_formal_jean_web

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.

Lubbock, Texas in our Rear View Mirror

After considering the question for about 2/7ths of a second, a majority of students thought it would be a good idea to leave Lubbock, Texas on Saturday afternoon, rather than spend another night in Lubbock.  Thus it was at 4:30pm that we drove home from Lubbock and into the path of a Tropical Storm.

Before we left, we stopped at One Guy’s Pizza, which was very good!  It was fortunate that the portions were large because, as it turned out, we wouldn’t be eating again for a long time.

As it turns out, Lubbock looked just fine in our rear view mirror.

Austin, for example, was fascinated by the windmills…

Windmills_Web…although the real windmills actually paled in comparison to Jesus Moroles’s granite windmill at Lubbock’s National Ranching Heritage Center.

Windmill_Moroles_Web

As we moved to central and then east Texas, however, the weather turned stormy.  It was raining heavily by the time we got to Eastland, and the water level rose further as we approached I-45.  Ominously, as we came within 10 miles of 45, we noticed that side roads were closed, with officers blocking them.  Sadly, this was also true when we arrived at I-45.

To get around what we thought was construction, we drove about 20 miles east, toward Seven Points, then southwest to intersect again with 45.  Our plan worked.  We took the ramp to 45 and headed south–at 11:30pm, we were less than two hours from home!

Our joy dimmed somewhat when we realized we were the only ones on the highway.  This, we surmised, was unlikely under normal circumstances.  Within ten miles, we saw that I-45 was completely blocked.  This time we asked the officer what was going on, and he said the highway was closed because of flooding.  He advised that we drive north to Corsicana, then drive west to Waco, then drive south to Bryan, then drive east to Huntsville.

Thirty minutes after being less than 2 hours from home, it was now midnight, and we were almost four hours from home.

But we dutifully slogged our way home.  Of course, just outside of Bryan we were stopped at a Railroad Crossing, waiting for what Austin called “the world’s longest train.”

Train_WebA little after 3:30am, we got to the green lot, and we scattered in separate directions, going home after a long, but successful trip to Lubbock, Texas.

For all of SHSU’s teams, the opportunity to participate on the moot court team has helped us each become well-rounded and develop skills to help prepare us for law school and our careers as attorneys. Each person grew as a result of our moot court preparation and the guidance we received from our coach, Jean Loveall. Half of the team will graduate soon, while the other half is already anticipating next year’s moot court competition. Many thanks go to the Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association for organizing the competitions each year, Texas Tech Law School for hosting the competition, the LEAP Center for providing the opportunity to compete in Moot Court this year, and our Coach Ms. Loveall who has helped each of the team members grow and learn in preparation for our regional competition.

 

 

 

Moot Court Tournament: Day Two at TTU Law

We knew coming into the tournament that we’d be at TTU Law on Saturday.  What we didn’t know was whether we would be participating.  Late Friday night, after three rounds of competition, we found that one of our teams (Kristyn and James) would, in fact, be competing on Saturday.  They had made a “play in” for the last spot in the “Sweet Sixteen” and their competition was scheduled for 8:00am.

They were scheduled to face a team from TCU, consisting of Luke Erwin and Becca Michelson.  We arrived at about 7:20 that morning, so there was some waiting to do, which we spent preparing for the contest…

Group_Prep_Work_Web

We also took this time to teach Alex how to use the camera (a fortuitous time given Alex’s impending trip to Wisconsin next week).

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…and she took some good photographs, including this one, which Austin photobombed!

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We also spent some time waiting for the opposing team to change and otherwise prepare, so we remained flexible while the judges also waited.

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As with all of the contests, the “debate” lasted 40 minutes, with both sides splitting the time for arguments. Kristyn led off for SHSU’s team…

Second_Day_Kristyn_Speaking_3_Web…and James closed…

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When the debate was over, the students left the room to await the verdict. A few minutes later it came: With two judges voting in favor of SHSU, the Bearkat team advanced!

This made for an exciting morning, which was amped up further when the students had just a few minutes to get to their next contest.  Their 9:00 am contest was against the number one ranked team from Texas A&M.  Coached by Ph.D. candidate Nick Conway and consisting of competitors Kristina Smith and Lakshmi Achari, the TAMU team had prepared extensively.  It showed.

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The Bearkats worked hard and turned in an impressive argument, but the judges opted for the Aggie team.

With this defeat, the SHSU teams were officially out of the race, but there was still much to do.  Tournament officials gave trophies to those participating in the “Sweet Sixteen” and James and Kristyn were presented with theirs.

Kristyn_James_Awards_Auditorium_WebOther competitors also received trophies.

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All the SHSU participants then retired to one of the law-school rooms for photos, where they took photos…of Chelsea with her gavel

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…Kristyn with her trophy…

Kristyn_Award_2….Chelsea with her coach, Jean Loveall…

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…”Sweet Sixteen” participants James and Kristyn….

James_Kristyn_Awards_2_Web…Chelsea, James, and Kristyn…

Chelsea_James_Kristyn_Awards_2_Web…and the entire team!

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As it turned out, the Aggie team–which had defeated James and Kristyn–made it to the finals against one of three UTD teams present.  The finals were formal, with the judges entering as everyone rose…

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The Tournament Director, Professor Robert Sherwin, served as one of five judges in the final rounds, and Tech students introduced all the judges and made some comments before the final competition.

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All the competitors in the final deserved to be there, presenting themselves well.  In the end, TAMU fell just short in a very close contest.  The UTD team, consisting of Alexandra Noll and Blake Eaton and coached by Anne Dutia, had actually been defeated by SHSU in the UNT Scrimmage two weeks ago, but they were better prepared today, and their preparation paid off with the title of tournament champions!

Champs_JudgesThe end of the tournament was a time of photo-taking, with the runner-ups also getting photos with the judges…

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…and a group photos of the champions and runner ups…

Winners_Judges_Web…and a variety of combinations of winners, coaches, and judges.

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The SHSU students got in the action a bit, speaking with some of the judges and TTU faculty/staff.

Campbell_Tyra_Judges_WebThe end of the competition marked the end of SHSU’s first-ever moot court team’s first competition in the American Moot Court Association’s tournament process. It was a great experience, exposing us to a fine law school, current law students, and some great pre-law undergraduates from across the state of Texas (and beyond)!

Moot Court Tournament: Texas Tech Law School, Day One

Even though the competition started at two, most of us started Friday early.  We began preparing for the events, while one of our coaches scouted out the venue (Texas Tech Law School!) and explored some of the Jesus Moroles’ sculptures on campus.

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But by the early afternoon, after countless hours of preparation, our nerves were beginning to set in.  So, we ate.  Our restaurant was a burger place called Spanky’s, recommended by former Junior Fellow Brandon Reese, who also happens to be an alum of Texas Tech Law School.

Spanky’s advertises its “world famous fried cheese,” and after the server told us that one basket is “only six sticks,” we ordered two baskets.  What we didn’t know is that they cheese sticks are the size of a log.

Couvillion_Fried_Cheese_WebBut we got them down, along with some burgers, and that helped quell some nerves.

Armed with food in our stomachs, we headed to Texas Tech Law School. With the intensity of competition weighing on our shoulders, we had a few extra minutes to practice and prepare before the competition began.

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After competing at the UNT Scrimmage a few weeks ago, our team had a better idea of what to expect; however, there are many unknown variables that a competitor cannot control such as: who your opposing team is, who the judges are, or what questions the judge’s will ask you. Today’s preliminary rounds consisted of three rounds where each team argued once on each side (petitioner and respondent) and a final coin toss round to determine which side each opposing team would argue.

The performances in these three rounds will then be used to determine who competes tomorrow, with the top sixteen teams advancing.  Armed with that mission, we awaited the call to compete.

When the time came to disperse to our respective rooms for competition, our team felt prepared because we knew we invested a substantial amount of time into learning the problem case, developing our arguments, and refining our presentation skills. My co-counsel, Alejandra Galvan, and I argued on the petitioners’ side of the case in our first round.

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For us, the petitioner’s side of the case is more challenging than the respondent’s argument. After each round, the judges provide feedback to the teams giving them the opportunity to improve in the following rounds. This proves to be a useful tool in going forward in the competition. As each round progressed, confidence among the group grew because the judge’s feedback was constructive and positive.

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After completing the final round, Texas Tech Law School catered dinner for us which allowed for a reprieve from the stress of the day while we waited on the final results and scores.

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Participating in Moot Court has numerous benefits, one of which is getting to tour law schools during the competition. Dinner allowed us the opportunity to meet and interact with Texas Tech Law students to gain insight on their law school experience. We also had the chance to meet the Associate Dean of Admissions, LJ Bernhard, who gave us advice on law school applications. In addition to the skills you can acquire and refine, making connections and getting information is a benefit to the Moot Court experience.

Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association gives awards to the top twenty speakers for the preliminary rounds.Our entire team was excited when Chelsea King won overall twelfth speaker.

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Also, James Perry and Kristyn Couvillion, tied for the sixteenth spot giving them the opportunity to compete in a “play-in round” (equivalent to the wildcard in sports playoffs) tomorrow morning to determine who will win the sixteenth spot.

First_Day_Dinner_Team_11_Announced_WebFollowing a happy first day of competition, we took lots of photos…

First_Day_Group_Photo_Web…including one in the very cool atrium, below a Thomas Jefferson quote…

First_Day_Group_Photo_SHSU_Atrium_WebWe also got pictures of the group from UNT, a group led by Dr. Kimi King, who organizes the tournament.

First_Day_Group_Photo_UNT_WebUNT has been long-time participants and, as expected, their competitors did very well.

We also relaxed a bit…

Alex_Austin_Web…and enjoyed reflecting on the day while winding down.  Well, James and Kristyn didn’t relax so much, but the rest of us did!

 

 

 

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…

Armadillo_Perini_Ranch_Web

…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!