Moot court aims to train law enthusiasts

Aspiring law students and Constitution aficionados can try out to compete in a mock Supreme Court with the university’s new moot court.

Donald Jackson, professor of political science and coach of the moot court team wrote in an e-mail that applicants will be given a practice case and asked to construct an effective five-minute argument.

Moot court tryouts
When: 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. March 23, 30
Where: Smith Hall room 214

Jackson said the simulated Supreme Court case will have two important aspects.

The last competition presented students with a case involving two constitutional issues: freedom of speech and due process, he said.

Senior finance major Hayly Mickles said team members must come prepared to argue either side of the case, which is decided by a coin flip.

The program is not limited to prospective law students.

“The moot court team is a good preparatory program for aspiring law students, but it is open to all degrees and students who have an interest in the law,” senior political science major Matt Buongiorno said.

Jackson said the moot court class will be offered next semester as POSC 30403, section 60, Supreme Court Simulation. The class will meet at 3:30 p.m. on Mondays, and is limited to 18 students, he said. All members of the class will engage in moot court arguments, but only the top eight will qualify for the Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association.

In its first year on campus, the university sent a two-student team to the national tournament at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, Calif.

The team members, Buongiorno and Mickles, finished 10th at the Southwestern Regional Moot Court Competition in November, paving their way to the national tournament in California.

“I was especially proud because we competed against many students who attend their respective schools on moot court scholarships, but for Matt and me it is an extracurricular activity,” Mickles said.