To help undergraduate moot court teams at LSU and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette prepare to vie for the National Moot Court Competition championship next year, LSU Law hosted a head-to-head scrimmage for the teams at the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center on Sunday, Oct. 15.
“This was probably one of the best things I have done in preparation of going to law school,” said LSU Moot Court President Elijah Olofintuyi. “I was nervous because I didn’t know what to expect, but the competition went way smoother than I thought it would. The judges actually helped me develop my argument, and it was a great experience learning to think critically and on my feet.”
The scrimmage was sponsored by the LSU Law Board of Advocates, the student honor organization dedicated to the promotion and development of oral and written persuasive advocacy skills.
“There are not many ways for undergraduate students to see what law school is like, so I think moot court competitions are a great way for them to experience at least one side of law school,” said third-year LSU Law student Yenifer Flores, who serves as the Board of Advocates Director of Judicial Relations–Appellate and volunteered to recruit judges for the scrimmage.
Board of Advocate members McKenzie Connelly, Samantha Jacobsen, and Alec Keane served as judges of scrimmage, along with LSU Law Class of 2021 alumni Maria Chiriboga and Kelsey Jenkins. Moot court is a simulated appellate trial, where teams of two students provide complex oral arguments in front of a panel of judges while competing against other universities. The American Moot Court Association provides undergraduate students with a case problem each year and administers the competitions.
“This experience was emboldening,” said LSU Moot Court Secretary Derquisia Spears. “Our scrimmage clarified my expectations for the AMCA qualifying tournament. I believe my teammate and I are ready for the challenge, I am proud of my teammates, and I am very grateful for the guidance of our coach, Dr. McKinzie Craig.”
Before joining the LSU Law Office of Career Services as assistant director in January 2022, Craig launched the moot court team at UL Lafayette, where she served for several years as the prelaw advisor to students and an academic advisor for the political science department. Along with LSU Law Advocacy Programs Director Jeff Brooks, Craig regularly volunteers to assist the LSU Moot Court team. She is also an AMCA board member.
“It’s only fitting that my former students join my new students for my first foray back into coaching,” said Craig, adding LSU is the fourth school at which she has coached an undergraduate moot court team. “I could not be more excited for them, and I hope they will all remember this experience fondly as they compete in many more competitions to come.”
The UL Lafayette team traveled to Indiana University Maurer School of Law to compete in the Indiana School of Law Regional on Oct. 28-29. LSU will send two teams to compete at the South Texas Regional competition held at Texas A&M College of Law on Nov. 10-11. The top 25% of teams from the Indiana School of Law Regional, Southern California Regional, Mid-South Regional, and Eastern Regional will earn bids to the PreNational Competition, which will be held at LSU Law on Jan. 13-14, 2024. The National Tournament will be held at Texas Tech School of Law.
LSU Law served as the host site of the AMCA National Tournament over two days in January, during which eighty teams of undergraduate college students from across the country converged at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center to compete. The AMCA was so impressed with the professionalism and hospitality shown by LSU Law as the host site, that it has committed to bringing the competition back to the Paul M. Hebert Center at least once every five years moving forward, and perhaps more often than that.
With over 80 teams expected to compete in the opening rounds of the PreNational Competition in January, attorneys and third-year law students will be needed to volunteer as judges. Those who can commit to volunteering or have questions about the tournament can contact LSU Law Professor Jeff Brooks at email@example.com.