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Moot Court Members to Compete in NAAC Competition in Seattle, WA

March 6, 2015

By Mahsa Kashkooly, 2L, Moot Court Social Chair

Moot Court members Shahin Shahrostambeik, Chelsea Grover, Devin Mirchi, Taelor Cole, Marisol Gonzalez, and Ricardo Elorza will compete in the American Bar Association National Appellate Advocacy Competition (NAAC) from March 6th to March 8th in Seattle, Washington.

The issues for the competition are heavily based on Civil Procedure, allowing the Moot Court team members to first handedly apply what they have learned in the classroom. These moot courters have given a great deal of time and effort into preparing for the prestigious competition. During winter break, the competitors had to do a little more than just enjoy the holidays. With their brief being due in early January the team had to work past the desire of wanting to rest after a long semester. In addition, the members had to work past the distance; Grover was in Canada, while Cole was in Las Vegas, the remaining members were in San Diego and Los Angeles. However, distance did not stop this team from producing an impeccable brief. These hurdles only brought the team closer and allowed them to form a strong bond as each person made sacrifices, knowing that the rest of their team would be counting on them.

In addition to creating strong bonds, members earned valuable knowledge in the area of Civil Procedure and got to perfect their oral argument skills. “Preparing for the ABA competition has been a wonderful experience,” Grover said. “It is amazing to see how much progress we have made. Preparing includes far more than memorizing both the Petitioner and Respondent arguments—it includes building enough confidence to stand before a panel of judges whose purpose is to challenge your understanding of the facts, law, and policies.”

“Preparing for the ABA competition and being a Moot Court member have been an amazing experience thus far,” said Mirchi. “The issue we are arguing has to do with the semi recent Twomby and Iqbal decisions about pleading standards and the post-trial reviewability of pre-trial motions. It was a difficult problem to wrap our heads around, but all of our hard work definitely shows, and we can’t wait to represent TJSL in Seattle.”

Gonzalez and Elorza, served as the team’s coaches and were proud of their team’s hard work and determination. “The National Appellate Advocacy Competition has been a beneficial experience where I’ve learned a few tips on presenting oral arguments from professors and practicing attorneys,” Gonzalez said. “I am very excited to attend the competition, see my teammates represent TJSL’s Moot Court team, and meet various members of our legal community.” Elorza echoed Gonzalez’s sentiments, stating, “Moot Court does not only help you become better appellate oral advocates, it also immerses you in legal issues that make you critically think about both sides of the problem. As the coach to one of the NAAC teams, I get to watch the progress my teammates make as they stand behind the podium each week. Moot Court is not for the faint of heart, competitors practice several days a week and late nights. The benefits, however, are enormous. The NAAC teams are ready to compete and I know we will leave the Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s name atop.”

As a competitor, Shahrostambeik also found the experience to be a valuable one. “I have had such a wonderful team of people to work with and the application of the law has not only helped in furthering our knowledge of civil procedure but also prepared us in becoming better attorneys tomorrow.”

Cole echoed her teammate’s viewpoints in finding that the experience has been well worth it. “To sum up my experience so far I would say it’s been nerve racking. It’s been a bit of a challenge balancing it all; writing the brief and figuring out how to argue each side in the most effective way. That being said, my partner Chelsea and I have had such a wonderful team of people that have stepped up to help us. From professors who really challenged and questioned us, to our coaches who helped us with our technique. I am extremely grateful and can’t wait to see what this competition has in store for us.”

Based on what each member had to say about the competition, it is clear that they are ready to compete and ready to bring home a victory for TJSL.