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Dayton Docket

Law School Team Prepares for Finals of National Moot Court Competition

Their journey started in a classroom more than a year ago with little thought that it would end with a trip to New York City for one of the most prestigious competitions of its kind in the country.

“I can remember people who have already graduated coming in and vouching for how great moot court is and I never really listened to them because I thought this is not for me,” says 3L Sara French.

Now French and fellow 3Ls Chase Kirby and Mackenzi Carrington have gone from wondering if moot court is something right for them to Finalists in the National Moot Court Competition (Feb. 10-14) put on by New York City Bar Association and the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL).

“It’s an honor to represent the University of Dayton,” Kirby says. “We’re all excited for that.”

Earning that honor started in Fall 2018 when all three took the law school’s Appellate Advocacy class. As part of the class, students participate in the Walter H. Rice Moot Court Competition at the law school. The competition includes a written brief and an argument in front of a judge or panel of judges. The winners of each round advance in the competition with the top finishers making the law school’s Moot Court team.

“You’re kind of not thinking you’re going to make the team and then you do and it snowballs into this fun experience you never expected,” Carrington says.

After becoming members of the Moot Court team advised by Professor Maureen Anderson, French, Kirby and Carrington took part in competitions in Spring 2019, leading up to the Regional round of the National Moot Court Competition in November. This year the School of Law hosted one of the regionals.

The three spent the weeks beforehand preparing.

“We had all put in a lot of hard work,” Carrington says. “Starting with our brief, we all put in the effort proofreading a lot. We also practiced on our oral arguments, threw questions at each other. When you’re prepared it’s hard to get stumped before the judges.”

They got a boost right before the tournament started when they learned they’d been awarded Best Brief in their Regional. But even as they progressed through the competition on Saturday, it wasn’t until the end of the day when it really hit them just how well they’d done.

“When we got announced we’d made it to the next day, it was surreal,” Carrington says. “It was super exciting. Something I’ll always remember.”

French got to watch as Kirby and Carrington made their arguments in the Regional final the next day.

“I knew they killed the final round,” French says. “After they both sat down I’m like I knew.”

The three say they’re excited to take part in the National Moot Court Competition Finals.

”We’re going to have fun with it,” Kirby says. “We’re not going with any expectations.”

The three highly recommend that law students get involved with moot court.

“Moot court is the culmination of all the skills you develop in law school,” Kirby says. “It tests your researching, writing and oral advocacy skills. It will build your confidence, but it will also humble you.”

Adds French, “Not only is it valuable but fun. It’s a team sport in its own way. Especially with Chase and Mackenzi. We each play to our own strengths and we’ve worked really hard, so it’s been fun to see the successes come together.”

They believe the experience of moot court will help them as they enter the legal field.

“It does give you the confidence to go out into your practice and utilize those skills you were able to learn from moot court,” Carrington says.

Adds Kirby, “It’s helped me and shaped me into who I’ll be as an attorney.”

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