Pre-Law Students Go to Court

By Michael Rosemond, EPPS Economics Student

For those students who are interested in attending law school after they graduate, UT Dallas offers a moot court program in addition to mock trial and mediation. These programs are designed to prepare students with the skills they will need for a career in law and thus give them an advantage among other law school applicants. Moot court, specifically, is an exercise which simulates the appellate court procedure in both federal and state courts. Students involved in it are given a hypothetical case and are required to construct petitioner and respondent oral arguments on a Constitutional law topic with 20 to 25 precedents before the Supreme Court of the United States. Students will get to present their positions on this Constitutional law issue before a panel of judges, who will interrupt the advocates to ask questions about their statements and reasoning.

Moot Court is a class offered in both fall and spring semesters, and is held every Monday from 4:00 to 6:00. Students wishing to register for the class are required to take a prerequisite class, and have the option of either taking Civil Liberties or Constitutional Law. Dr. Anthony Champagne, an EPPS Political Science professor, is the instructor for both of these courses. Anne Dutia is the coach of the Moot Court program though, and she has also been a pre-law advisor at UTD since 2006. Ms. Dutia has prior experience as an attorney, law school admissions officer, and a law school admissions consultant, so she has been an excellent resource in providing prospective law students with information and advice on law school application processes and careers.

Students involved in Moot Court are given the opportunity to develop research and analytical skills necessary for law school. Their activity in Moot Court and Constitutional Law classes has been a key part in preparing them for tournaments which occur every few months throughout the year. Students learn to become flexible with their responses when judges' questioning doesn't go according plan, and they are required to think on their feet. The skills they develop in research, logical reasoning, critical analysis, and flexibility remain with them and prove to be beneficial in law school and their future careers.