On Friday, March 27, 2015, BYU Law’s Moot Court Team congratulated the winner of its annual 1L competition. Despite having to switch sides for the final round, David Nielson was named best oralist, and Madilyn Cole won runner-up best oralist.
“It was very stressful and intimidating to go into the final rounds arguing the opposite side of what I had spent months preparing,” Nielson said. “Moot court has shown me that though it is frightening and stressful to prepare for and participate in oral arguments, it is something that is very fulfilling and enjoyable. Participating in real oral arguments or litigation would continually keep me thinking and not allow me to become complacent in my career. That constant mental challenge is something I am definitely looking for.”
For Nielson, litigation runs in the family. “My dad and two of my brothers are litigators, and it is the area of law I have always been naturally drawn toward,” he said. “Participating in this competition has shown me the stress and excitement that would come from actually being a litigator and I have enjoyed the hands-on application of the skills I have gained.”
As a 13-year-old, Nielson’s watched his older brother win the BYU Law 1L Moot Court Competition. “I didn't enter the competition thinking I was going to win, but hoped to make it as far as I could,” Nielson said. “Things went well and it was special for me to win this competition 12 years after sitting in the same moot court room watching my brother.”
Cole also has family ties to moot court. She explained, “My cousin Jenny is a 3L and has been a huge mentor to me; she really encouraged me to do it. She enjoyed moot court and thought that I would as well.”
“Participating in moot court reaffirmed that I want to be in the courtroom,” Cole said. “It has been a positive experience because it has helped me realize that what I am interested in lines up with my personal strengths. I want to work for the District Attorney's office in Las Vegas, and I think my experience with moot court will definitely help me. I want to be a trial lawyer, and I think moot court will help me gain a skills-set and the practical experience to prepare me for the working world.”
Both Nielson and Cole agreed that the most rewarding part of the competition was appearing in front of faculty and practicing attorneys and getting feedback. “It was much more intimidating going in front of actual practitioners, but much more real and rewarding,” Nielson said.
Cole concurred, “It was hard work preparing for oral arguments and all the different questions I could possibly be asked; however, it was extremely rewarding being able to answer the judges’ questions effectively.”