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Moot Court team takes 5th place in region, travels to national competition Jan. 14-15

January 12, 2010 -- ASU’s award-winning moot court team travels to New Orleans for the American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA) national tournament January 14-15, held at the Tulane University Law School. The team has qualified for nationals in each year of its existence, winning a national championship in 2009. Last year, a team from ASU finished the tournament in fifth place after an appearance in the Elite Eight round. This year, ASU qualified two pairings for nationals, and all pairings submitted appellate briefs in the national brief writing competition.

Abram Skarda (senior political science major, Des Arc) and Daniel Shults (junior political science major, Pocahontas) are ASU’s highest seeded team going into the national tournament as a result of their fifth-place finish at the South Central Regional Championships held in Little Rock at the UALR-William H. Bowen School of Law. Skarda also finished as the third-ranked speaker (of 64 speakers) in that tournament.

The pairing of Lilia Pacheco (a junior political science major of Jonesboro) and Neena Viel (a junior communications major of Jonesboro) placed ninth in Little Rock and will also compete at the national tournament. Pacheco finished as the fifth-ranked speaker in Little Rock.

“We are having a banner year again this year,” said Dr. Hans Hacker, team coach and assistant professor of political science. “We go into nationals very relaxed and confident in our preparation.” Dr. Hacker noted that the team lost many students to graduation last year, but despite losing seasoned members, the team has placed well in each competition it has entered and has produced some of the year’s best speakers. “I thought this would be a year to rebuild," Hacker said, "but our students work very hard, and it pays off every year.”

Dr. Hans Hacker, left, team coach, poses with the 2011 Moot Court team.

A moot court competition involves students arguing a hypothetical case before a fictitious Supreme Court composed of attorneys, judges, public officials and/or law school students. It combines training in all the things any lawyer would say are crucial for a career—speaking/advocacy, writing, and research skills. Moot court also allows ASU undergraduates to meet and network with law students, law school professors, career attorneys, and sitting judges from around the country.

The ASU Moot Court Team is a competitive team participating in the Southwestern and South Central Regions of the American Collegiate Moot Court Association (the organization overseeing national undergraduate moot court competition). The team travels throughout the region and nation competing against other undergraduate teams. Competitions are usually held at law schools and all competitions are judged by third year law students, professors, practicing attorneys and sitting judges.

After nationals, the ASU Moot Court Team will conclude its season with a competition at Baylor School of Law, an internal competition for ASU’s England Cup and the Gloria Gibson top speaker award. They will then hold tryouts for next year’s team, and conduct a demonstration round at a Continuing Legal Education fundraiser on the ASU campus on Friday, May 6. 

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