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Moot Court team wins inaugural regional championship, qualifies for national championship tournament

Nov. 23, 2009 -- On Saturday, Nov. 21, Arkansas State University’s Moot Court team won the inaugural South Central Regional Moot Court Championship Tournament, held at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s William H. Bowen School of Law. ASU also qualified two teams for the National Undergraduate Moot Court Championships to be held in January at Florida International University College of Law in Miami, Florida.

The team of Jervonne Newsome, a senior political science and philosophy major of Jonesboro, and Lilia Pacheco, a sophomore political science major of Jonesboro, won the tournament and brought home the Robert R. Wright III Trophy, presented to them by Judge Susan Webber-Wright, chief judge, United States District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas, and Dean John DiPippa of the Bowen School. On the way to the finalJudge Susan Webber-Wright, Lilia Pacheco, Jervonne Newsome, and Bowen School of Law's Dean John DiPippa pose after the South Central Regional Moot Court Championship Tournament. round, Newsome and Pacheco defeated teams from Texas A&M, Texas Wesleyan University and the University of Texas-Dallas. In the finals, the pair defeated a team from the University of Texas-Austin. They will enter the national tournament as the top seeded team in the region.

In addition to Newsome and Pacheco qualifying for Nationals, a team consisting of two other students qualified as well. Ryan Mullenix, a senior corporate finance major of Jonesboro, and Kayla Shirey, a freshman political science major from Benton, qualified for nationals, made their way into the quarter-finals of Saturday's tournament, and won two top speaker awards (Shirey placed 8th, and Mullenix was the 2nd-ranked speaker for the tournament). Mullenix, Shirey, Newsome, and Pacheco were also named All-Region, which included the top ten speakers and the top eight teams.

”This is the equivalent of winning our conference championship. It's a big win for the students,” said Dr. Hans Hacker, assistant professor of political science at ASU and ASU’s Moot Court team coach. “Arkansas State was, cumulatively, the top team overall in the tournament. Our young teams have achieved all the goals we set for them, and all of our teams did exceptionally well. I particularly want to commend the team for their behavior as representatives of the their university. As one of the conference organizers, I was not able to spend much time with them. LaQuita Saunders, J.D., co-director of ASU’s Pre-Law Center and instructor in history at ASU, acted as honorary coach.”

The ASU Moot Court team poses with the Robert R. Wright III championship trophy they won at the South Central Regional Moot Court Championship Tournament.

Hacker also noted that the Bowen School was an exceptional host for the tournament, with Dean DiPippa and Patti Bell due much of the credit for putting on a nearly flawless first-time event. Hacker also credits the other coaches on-site, along with four ASU students who assisted on both days of the tournament--Jenna Wells, Adam Jackson, Nick Adkins, and Nate Conley—as well as recognizing Rachelle Tadlock, administrative assistant in the Office of the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, who assisted with the conference organization in Jonesboro. Dean Carol O'Connor also receives credit for her extensive support of the Moot Court team.

Universities competing in the South Central Regional Championship included the University of Texas-Dallas, Vanderbilt University, Arkansas State University, the University of Texas-Austin, Texas A&M, Howard Paine University, Middle Tennessee State University, Texas Wesleyan University, and Stephen F. Austin State University.


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