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!


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.


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.


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.

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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.


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.

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…


…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!

Moot Court Scrimmage: Reinforcements Arrive

While SHSU’s Moot Court teams were winding up their day in Dallas, a new crew was setting out from SHSU to observe Saturday’s proceedings.  The new crew consisted of LEAP Ambassadors and potential members of next year’s Moot Court team: Megan Chapa, Constance Gabel, Karla Rosales, Beatriz Martinez, Jamaus Williams, and Brian Aldaco.

Before arriving at the hotel, they stopped at Afrah’s, a Middle Eastern restaurant.  Despite the fact that at least three of the students had never had Middle Eastern food before, they dug in with gusto, trying chicken schwarma, beef kabob, chicken  kabob, lamb kabob, hummus, babaganooj, falafel, and tzatziki sauce.

Group_DinnerAfter a long drive and good food, they settled in with the Moot Court teams, learned about the next day’s proceedings, and rested.