North Texas Daily

Texas’ best moot court team at UNT seeks more debaters

Texas’ best moot court team at UNT seeks more debaters

Texas’ best moot court team at UNT seeks more debaters
May 01
01:31 2014

Connor Trinske // Contributing Writer

Moot court competitions may be over for this school year, but that doesn’t mean UNT’s resident moot court team will stop practicing – or recruiting. The North Texas Moot Court Team is among one of the best in the country, and is eager to accept more talented and determined debaters willing to give their time and effort.

 “This year we won the Texas A&M School of Law Tournament and made it to the final round of every other [Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association] tournament, each time with different partners,” said Taylor Ledford, team captain and political science junior. “We have achieved this without having a formal class, unlike many of the top teams, because we hold practices where every team member is actively involved in helping every other improve.”

Moot court deliberation is a form of constitutional debate that models oral arguments before an appellate court. Each year, student members deliberate a case problem that mirrors an issue going through the courts of the United States, such as gay marriage, Obamacare, affirmative action and warrantless surveillance.

Moot court debaters, or “mooters,” read case law and prepare arguments, splitting issues with a partner. The eight-person UNT team participates in numerous tournaments and competitions on a yearly basis.

Ledford’s team is ranked no. 1 in the state of Texas and no. 5 nationally. He said its success is due to an environment that cultivates cooperation and respect, both towards fellow team members and teams from other schools. Most members of the team are undergraduate students, reflecting a rather recent phenomenon that allows undergraduate competition. UNT has taken full advantage of this trend as it repeatedly fields the North Texas Moot Court Team and seeks potential members.

Moot court can be advantageous to students in a multitude of ways, said Rebekah Samaniego, a political science graduate student and a TUMCA coach for UNT.

“Law schools host moot court tournaments and their admissions deans, professors and advocacy boards are heavily involved, because they use the competitions for recruiting,” she said. “Being able to argue in front of them is better than an admissions interview, because it allows the students to show that they can develop a logical argument and argue it with opposing council.”

Texas A&M University School of Law and Texas Tech University School of Law will both be hosting regional qualifying tournaments in November, but UNT and its moot court team will offer two introductory seminars for new moot court members: one in late summer and another in early fall.

Wendy Watson is a political science professor, advisor for all pre-law students at UNT and serves as a mentor for the moot court teams.

“Moot court provides aspiring lawyers with the opportunity to engage in legal reasoning and oral advocacy, both skills they will develop in law school and, later, in their legal practices,” she said. “It offers students a real advantage in terms of law school admissions and law school success.”

Those interested in joing moot court can email or come by the moot court office at Wooten 147 to pick up further information and set up a tryout.

Feature photo: UNT Moot Court Logo. Graphic courtesy of UNT Moot Court Facebook page

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