Published: November 11, 2009
With some trepidation and even more excitement, the students in UT
professor Alisa Smith’s Appellate Advocacy/Moot Court Competition class
are preparing behind a podium. Come Friday, they’ll be among the more
than 50 students coming to UT for the Southeastern Regional Moot Court
“It’s really a great experience,” said Steve Cohen
’10, a UT criminology major and law and justice minor who participated
in the competition last year in Savannah, GA. “Last year I was brand
new. Having that experience makes me more confident this year and gets
me excited for law school.”
For the third year UT is
participating in the tournament which includes a mock Supreme Court
argument involving the Fourth and Eighth Amendments.
an argument to a jury, and it’s not a trial,” said Smith, associate
professor of criminology and criminal justice. “It’s a very
intellectual, formal discussion about a topic in the law.”
students have to become familiar with court cases, which average about
700 pages in length, knowing them backward and forward in order to argue
for or against the court’s previous decisions. Stetson Law School
students help judge and mentor the UT students during the semester,
giving them pointers and instilling confidence.
“It’s like no
other class I teach,” Smith said, commenting on how the students take
the meaning of team work to the extreme, hosting mock practices at their
homes, meeting early before classes or late after the day is over.
“It’s like a family.”
For Ashley Ettaro ’11, public speaking isn’t one of her strong suits.
makes me a wreck,” Ettaro said. “But I’m a criminology major and
eventually I want to be a lawyer, so this is helping me develop my oral
arguments and be a better public speaker.”
Smith said students
finish her class, and the competition, with a level of confidence that
will be invaluable whatever profession they choose.
“From the beginning to the end, the metamorphosis is like from caterpillar to butterfly,” Smith said.
is the first time UT has hosted the regional tournament. The
preliminary, quarter-, and semi-final rounds of the tournament will be
held in Plant Hall on Nov. 13 and Nov. 14. The final round will be held
in the afternoon on Nov. 14 at the Second District Court of Appeal
courtroom at the Stetson University College of Law in Tampa. The winners
of the tournament will proceed to the national tournament, hosted by
Florida International University College of Law, in January 2010.
order for it to work well you need a huge legal community,” who do the
judging, Smith said. “It a wonderful opportunity for UT to host the
tournament and for the legal community to come to the University and see
what UT is about.”
For more information about the southeastern regional tournament, contact Smith at (813) 258-7283,
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