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ASU's Moot Court Team helps organize tournament at UALR's Bowen School of Law

Nov. 16, 2009 -- The first ever undergraduate moot court championship for the South Central region of the United States will be held on Friday, Nov. 20, at the Bowen School of Law in Little Rock, and Arkansas State University is involved in a big way. Much of the organization for the tournament is occurring in Jonesboro, the home of Dr. Hans Hacker, who serves as the tournament’s director. Hacker, an assistant professor of Political Science, also coaches the Arkansas State University Moot Court Team, which will compete at the tournament, vying for the overall championship and a top seed in the National Undergraduate Moot Court Championships, to be held on Friday-Saturday, January 15-16, 2010, at the Florida International University College of Law in Miami.

“The national organization created the South Central region last year to provide more opportunities for undergraduates from the country’s mid-section to compete. One of our faculty members was named tournament director, and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences has helped organize the tournament,” said Dr. Carol O’Connor, interim dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “The university has also stepped up to help manage its finances.”

This year, 36 teams from nine universities will compete in Little Rock. Universities competing include the University of Texas at Dallas, Vanderbilt University, Arkansas State University, the University of Texas at Austin, Howard Paine University, Middle Tennessee State University, Texas Wesleyan University, and Stephen F. Austin State University.

The final round of the tournament will be judged by a veritable “Who’s Who” of Arkansas lawyers. Judge Susan Webber-Wright will preside as chief justice during the final round. She currently serves as chief judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Other judges during the finals include Judge Brian S. Miller (also of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas), Associate Justice Elana Wills (Arkansas Supreme Court), Judge Larry Vaught (Chief Judge, Arkansas Court of Appeals) and Professor A. Felicia Epps of the Bowen School.

Attorneys judging the semi-final rounds include local appellate attorney Brandon Harrison of Barrett and Deacon Law Firm; Bill Waddell, Chris Lawson, and Rob Shafer (all of the Friday Law Firm); Arkansas Circuit Court Judge Timothy Fox; and John DiPippa, Dean of the Bowen School.

"It is a stellar lineup,” said Dr. Richard Wang, chair of the Department of Political Science. “I cannot think of another regional tournament with a bench of this stature. The tournament will rival even the National Championships. We all feel very fortunate that so many Arkansas attorneys understand the value of moot court for undergraduate education.”

This year, Judge Webber-Wright will present the championship trophy in honor of her husband, Robert R. Wright III, former Bowen School professor, for whom it is named.

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