Michelle Tendai Bushe / Intern Writer
The UNT Moot Court team practices arguing court cases just as actual lawyers would, speaking in front of a mock supreme court and competing at national collegiate moot court tournaments.
The 11 students on the UNT team pair up to compete against teams from various schools at tournaments across the country.
“The most important thing is to have someone that has strong critical thinking skills, as well as the desire and passion to convince people to believe in your arguments,” said Kimi King, moot court coach and political science professor.
Political science freshman Eryn Mascia was the only UNT student partnered with a student from another institution for the Texas A&M University School of Law invitational tournament on Nov. 2 sponsored by Undergraduate Moot Court Association. Mascia had to switch because her partner dropped.
Mascia won the championship title despite having limited time to prepare her new case. She stayed up for approximately six hours going over her case with the help of senior team members.
“Her team was the only hybrid [two people of different universities paired together to compete] in the event’s history that ever won a tournament together,” said Mackenzie Dunham, history senior and team captain.
Mascia’s victory was calculated into UNT’s national ranking. The team is now ranked No. 5 in the nation, Dunham said.
The UNT team participated in three competitions this semester, and economics senior Blake Jackson said it’s great to see how well they have performed.
“Overall we have had a lot of top speakers,” he said. “We take that as a team accomplishment.”
Currently three UNT pairs have earned regional seats at nationals, including political science sophomore Taylor Ledford and his partner, history senior Alex Schwind.
“It’s not easy to stand up there and talk for 10 minutes and answer all the questions whilst being interrupted,” Ledford said.
Ledford said each pair recieves a case problem and sets out to learn both the pros and cons of the case. At the competition they speak for 10 minutes for each side.
Political science senior Megan Altobelli and history senior Jada Kent joined Moot Court this semester and earned second place at the Texas Tech University regionals.
The team’s goal for next semester is to get a high ranking at nationals, which will take place Jan. 17-18 at Arizona State University.
“We haven’t made it to a final round since 2001,” King said. “We are due.”
King has coached moot court since 1999. She said the best part of her job is working with the students who have great minds and are willing to work together to better their skills.
Feature photo: Political science freshman Eryn Mascia holds her championship trophy from the Texas A&M Moot Court Association tournament. The tournament was Mascia’s first, and despite her feeling like an “underdog” she emerged victorious. Photo by Edward Balusek / Staff Photographer