Moot Court Squad Makes Convincing Case for Itself
UT Dallas Teams Take 1st, 2nd and 4th Place in Regional Tournament
Nov. 23, 2010
A month after winning the Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association’s Texas Wesleyan Invitational Tournament, UT Dallas’ Moot Court Team has argued its way to the top again.
The second annual South Central Regional Moot Court Championships, held Nov. 12 and 13 at the University of Arkansas William H. Bowen School of Law in Little Rock, hosted 32 two-person teams from Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas. Competitors presented simulated legal arguments before panels of judges pretending to be the Supreme Court.
Out of the 32 teams at the tournament, three duos representing UT Dallas finished in first, second and fourth places. Senior political science majors Grace Bielawski, who also is Student Government president, and Philip Harris took first place. Monica Niewiarowski, a sophomore international political economy major, and Stevin George, senior political science major, won second. Parisa Korous and Keshavan Sridhar, both senior political science majors, were semi-finalists.
A team from Stephen F. Austin University took third place.
“The students built upon concepts they learned in Dr. Anthony Champagne’s constitutional law class, and formulated quite sophisticated arguments,” said Anne Dutia, pre-law adviser and Moot Court coach. “The level of analysis in which these teams were engaging to answer questions from the bench was remarkable. Even the judges commented on how impressed they were with the students’ knowledge and preparation.”
Three UT Dallas students received individual speaker awards at the regional tournament, with Bielawski as the fourth-place speaker, George as sixth and Harris as seventh.
“For me, Moot Court is an indispensable part of the collegiate experience that gives me an advantage on law school applications,” added George. “During the final round at the regional tournament, the panel of judges included members of the Arkansas State Supreme Court, two federal district judges, including one who handled the Whitewater and Paula Jones cases, and an appeals court judge. It’s rare that undergraduates can claim to have argued a case before such a distinguished panel.”
By placing in the top eight, UT Dallas’ teams qualify for the National Moot Court Tournament, to be held in January at Tulane Law School in New Orleans.
The South Central Region is a part of the American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA). Moot court competition traditionally has been an educational opportunity limited to the law school environment. The ACMA aims to build a system of top-quality undergraduate moot court competitions in America.
Students can participate in Moot Court by taking the honors moot court class. Participation is limited to eight students a semester and requires instructor sign-off to enroll. Team members may accrue a maximum of six hours of academic credit for their participation.
Moot Court is one of three competitive teams coordinated by the UT Dallas Pre-Law Advising and Resource Center; the program also has a Mediation and a Mock Trial team. UT Dallas is the only Texas university to have all three.