The Pre-Law Society at UC Merced has held a Moot Court competition annually since the 2010 spring semester. However, this semester, Executives of MPLS canceled ongoing events for the competition, for reasons unstated, but will have the event next spring semester.
“We, the executive board of MPLS, took into account all of the factors surrounding the event, especially those mitigating circumstances which we could not affect, and decided, after serious discussion, to hold off the event until next spring,” said MPLS Executive Board Member, Marko Zivanovic.
The Pre-Law Society allows students to build experience and gain knowledge about what can help them succeed, both in their efforts to get into law school and beyond in other areas of their lives.
“The Moot Court coordinating committee and MPLS Executive Board make the final decision on whom to invite to participate as a judge,” said Zivanovic.
These attorneys and judges are dedicated to providing the students with valuable feedback and advice about how to strengthen their presentation and improve their skills.
“MPLS is fortunate in having developed a strong network of support within the legal community in Merced. Not only do our dedicated supporters volunteer as Moot Court judges, but they remain engaged with our events and students throughout the year,” said Zivanovic.
A Moot Court models Courts that exist in the American political arena.
“A Moot Court competition is meant to simulate an appellate court - like the Supreme Court or one of the Federal District courts. In this way it is different from a trial court in that there are no witnesses and only the judge or judicial panel hears and rules on the case, as there's no ‘jury of one's peers,’” said Zivanovic.
The general organization of a Moot Court is more beneficial to Pre-Law students compared to other types of debate in the field of Law.
“[A Moot Court setting] is a more academic setting than, [for example] a Mock Trial—[which] are much more popular at other colleges and high schools, and thus more fitting to a university setting” he said.
Such a competition is an event, similar to a debate, in which students can practice being effective, confident communicators in order to prove their point and present strong arguments the case at hand. The skills they gain and improve here will help them in every area of life.
“We are very grateful for all the time and effort these lawyers and judges from the community have invested in the students of UC Merced,” said Zivanovic.
The teams competing in the MPLS Moot Court competition participate in several rounds of debate before they reach the final.
“Moot Court is similar in preparation, execution, and structure to policy-style debate,” said Zivanovic.
The two competing sides—appellant and respondent—are chosen randomly at the beginning of the competition. The appellant side consists of teams of two counsels and at most three researcher assistants.
“Our competitors are asked to prepare both sides of the case in question, this way we encourage competitors to exercise their critical reasoning skills, but also teach them to think on their feet,” said Zivanovic.
Students will definitely have opportunities to improve their skills and gain more advice from such dedicated, beneficial professionals in the future.
The next Moot Court competition will be held in spring 2013.