By Mahsa Kashkooly
This semester, Moot Court members participated in national appellate advocacy competitions that covered an array of subjects.
Members interested in Criminal Procedure participated in the National Criminal Procedure Tournament held at the Hall of Justice in San Diego. The issues pertained to antitrust law and the Fourteenth Amendment. Two teams were sent to represent TJSL Moot Court at this year’s competition.
The first team was comprised of Elizabeth Atkins, Ricardo Elorza, and their coach Shahin Shahrostambeik. The team advanced to the top 16. Shahrostambeik, raved about his team and their exceptional arguments, stating, “The team made all the judges fall in love with them.” Atkins echoed Shahrostambeik’s sentiments and set her highest record yet. Atkins credits Moot Court for “giving her more confidence in public speaking as well as a major advantage in advocating for a client in court.” Elorza added that competing allowed him “to get out of his comfort zone, making it one of the best things he has done in law school.”
Also representing TJSL at the National Criminal Procedure Tournament was Adam Schneider, Danielle Tailleart, and their coach Jacqueline Palacios. The team wowed judges at the competition with their strong bond. Schneider reminisced on the endless practices that “included adopting a uniform tone and theme between his partner and himself for the brief and oral arguments.” Tailleart added that competing provided valuable skills and practical advice that she would take with her after graduation.
Members interested in other areas of law were given an opportunity to enhance their appellate advocacy skills. TJSL Moot Court competed in the National Moot Court Competition held at Chapman University. The team in attendance was Brian Del Vecchio, Devin Mirchi, and Chelsea Grover, coached by Tim Petricca. Del Vecchio represented TJSL victoriously and was awarded second best oralist during the preliminary rounds. Del Vecchio stated that, “the short deadlines and complex subject matter have taught me the value of effective research and writing.” Mirchi stated that, Moot Court has allowed him to, “learn the ins and outs of the appellate judicial process.”
Members interested in Intellectual Property competed in the seventeenth annual, Pepperdine University School of Law, National Entertainment Law Moot Court Competition held in Malibu, California. The competition revolved around the Lanham Act and the First Amendment. Marisol Gonzalez and Michelle Ribaudo represented the school alongside their Coach, Clayton Zamudio. Zamudio stated, “In front of the bench they both looked like battle hardened veterans, nothing took them by surprise. During the competition when a judge threw a curve ball they would keep their weight back and smash it to the opposite field!”
Performance aside, Ribaudo found competing invaluable, “By competing, I have advanced my legal research and brief writing capabilities, along with improving my oral advocacy skills.” Similarly, Gonzalez stated, “The process of writing the appellate brief and preparing oral arguments has given me confidence in my research and speaking skills.”
In addition to garnering an invaluable experience in becoming more seasoned oral advocates, members were able to form unbreakable bonds, truly bringing to life the word team, proving that Moot Court provides its members with incomparable opportunities in the practice of oral advocacy as well as a lifetime of friendships and memories.