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.
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.
But 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Following a happy first day of competition, we took lots of photos…
…including one in the very cool atrium, below a Thomas Jefferson quote…
We also got pictures of the group from UNT, a group led by Dr. Kimi King, who organizes the tournament.
UNT has been long-time participants and, as expected, their competitors did very well.
We also relaxed a bit…
…and enjoyed reflecting on the day while winding down. Well, James and Kristyn didn’t relax so much, but the rest of us did!