BYU Law’s Moot Court National Team recently succeeded in a competition in San Francisco, qualifying for a position in the upcoming national finals in Chicago. Jennifer Hales, Hannah Marchant, and Judson Burton secured a place as one of the top four teams at the regional competition.
The team’s faculty advisor, Kristin Gerdy, shared her excitement: “I am so immensely proud of them. They did a fantastic job and beat teams from Northwestern, Gonzaga, Case Western, and UC Davis.”
Before the competition, BYU Law’s team wrote a 14,000 word brief. At the competition, they presented oral arguments and answered questions from a panel of judges who were attorneys and judges from the San Francisco area.
“The best part of the competition is working with your team to perfect each other’s arguments and style and then to watch each other succeed,” Marchant said. “It is extremely rewarding and validating.”
Not everything in the competition, however, went smoothly for BYU Law’s team.
“A difficult point for me in this competition was when we lost the first round because it was clear that the judges were not familiar enough with the competition case to understand which arguments were actually valid,” Marchant said. “But I was really grateful to have a chance to argue again in the last round and validate the strength of my arguments.”
All members on BYU Law’s team agreed that consistently working on the brief and oral arguments throughout the semester with their coach, Professor Gerdy, contributed to their success.
“What helped us succeed was organization, pacing ourselves, and team work,” Hales said. “We started working on the problem the day it was released, and we tried to keep our research, writing, and practicing consistent from the beginning. Our coach, Professor Gerdy, practiced with us several times in the weeks leading up to the competition.”
For Marchant, Moot Court is about more than competing. She appreciates the opportunity to make her weaknesses into strengths. “I really enjoy writing, but public speaking was something I used to feel was a weakness,” she said. “So as a 1L, I wanted to get an invitation to participate on the Moot Court team so I would utilize my strength in writing and develop stronger speaking skills. Since becoming a member of the team I have had several opportunities to practice both of these skills and have been able to see real improvement, which is rewarding.”
Marchant advised those looking to join the Moot Court Team: “Work as hard as you can in the preparation phase and set a reasonable goal for your team, whether that be winning a certain number of rounds or making it through the preliminaries. But once you leave for the competition don’t think about whether or not you’re going to win; instead, enjoy the opportunity to show off your preparation and be with talented advocates.”