April 18, 2017

Law students excel at Moot Court

Two Cleveland State University Moot Court teams won national titles in two different competitions in March by beating approximately 15 other teams from schools across the country.

Madelyn Grant, Rachel Byrnes and Aaren Host won the August A. Rendigs National Product Liability Moot Court Competition hosted by the University of Cincinnati. Alanna Guy, Ben Fuchs, and Melissa Belancini, won at the Gabriele family law competition in Albany, N.Y.

“Each round you are presenting your argument to the judges while they pepper you with questions as frequently or infrequently as they please. It is essentially a competition in preparation, advocacy skills, and the ability to respond and recover quickly on your feet,” said Grant an in email interview.

Each team has around four weeks to prepare an oral argument that it will present to a panel of either three or six judges depending on the round in the competition. The judges are either current or past Court of Appeals judges or State Supreme Court Justices.

To guide them through the process, the student groups are advised by coaches from local  law firms throughout the process. Michael Pelagalli (Reminger), Ciera Parish (Calfee), and Grayson Seig (Jones Day) were the advisers for Grant’s team and all have experience in the court rooms of Cleveland.

Teams divide into groups of three and are presented with a case. The teams must prepare a brief for both sides of the argument, as they don’t know which side they will argue until the competition starts.

“We worked together as a team throughout the entire process,” Grant said. “We somewhat divided up the work when writing the brief in terms of research; however, the final brief was the product of a true team effort.

For the advocacy portion, each team member is arguing a different aspect of your case whether you are arguing opposite sides or arguing on the same side but just a different part of the issue at hand.”
This was Grant's team first appearance in such a competition which makes their victory even more impressive.  

Moot Court competitions expose law students to the setting they will soon experience. The realistic environment offers a fundamental perspective on becoming a lawyer and the amount of oral arguing done in court. This competition allows for students to learn through actual practice of law, as opposed to studying court cases in a classroom with less hands-on experience.


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