Most Wooster students were busy readjusting to the idea of second semester college life the first weekend back after winter break.† However, the Collegeís Moot Court team members were busy fighting tooth and nail in Miami, Florida at the 2009-2010 American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA) National Tournament, where they once again distinguished themselves with an impressive showing, further illustrating and emphasizing the strength of the program.
Shane Legg í10 and Claire Burgess í10, who captured the regional championship in November, were equally strong at nationals, finishing among the final four in Oral Argument. This marked the third time in four years that a Wooster team has made it to the ACMA Final Four.† ìIt was a goal that we had made since we started with Moot Court that we wanted to place within the Final Four before we graduated, and we did now ó this, our last year,” said Burgess.† She went on to acknowledge the support from the rest of the team during nationals ìIt was really important to me that they were all there and the confidence that they gave us was unbelievable. It helped us to get as far as we did.”
In addition, Willem Daniel í11 and Thomas Loughead í10 made it to the Sweet 16, while the pairs of Alan Van Runkle í11 and Alexa Roggenkamp í10, and Rachel Shonebarger í13 and Jacob Sklar í12 advanced to the Round of 32.
Individually, three Wooster participants finished among the Top Orators: Legg, was seventh; Shonebarger was ninth; and Sklar was 17th. Seven other Wooster students also took part in the national tournament: Mark Burgin í11 and Natalie Noyes í11, John Carter í12 and Cassandra Zavis í12, Kevin Whalen ë10 and Michael Walton í11; and Ramsey Kincannon í12, who was part of a hybrid team with Geoff Byrne of Denison.
The Moot Court team is a group† of students who are interested in both law and debate . They are given the opportunity to improve upon such skills.† Competitions aim to simulate appellate argument before the U.S. Supreme Court, giving competitors the opportunity to convince the court and attorney judges to rule in their favor as opposed to that of their opponents.† Both argumentative and organizational skills are taught and essential in order to succeed when put under the pressure of competition.† The pace of the competition is fast and unforgiving to those who canít think quickly on their feet, yet the stress and pressure leave the participants with the confidence and ability to articulate and argue their opinions and points, which truly becomes an interdisciplinary and invaluable skill.
Regardless of major, students of any age at the College are encouraged to join the group, and while the program provides strong pre-law experience, definitive plans to attend law school are not necessary.† However, many of the students involved in the group either had or continue to have intentions of further implementing their Moot Court experience later on after Wooster. Shonebarger pointed out that, ìLaw school teaches you the law but it doesnít teach you how to advocate the law,” which is exactly what Moot Courtís intends.
While Nationals marks the end of Moot Court for this academic school year, many of the members are excited for the potential that the team holds going into next fall.† Sklar noted that while Moot Court demands a lot time during the first semester it is well worth joining. ìWe all have a lot of fun with it. We get to travel together. We got to go to Miami this year. It was awesome!”
Daniel, is hopeful that next year the team can be even bigger than it was this year. Though the team had† about 16 pairs this year, he hopes to see it closer to 25 pairs, and again, he encourages anyone and everyone to join.