Correction: Previously, this story erroneously excluded a third team which advanced to compete at the national level. Additionally, a quote regarding the independence of Moot Court was taken out of context in a way that discredited contributions made by the team’s faculty advisor. This story was corrected at 3:13 a.m. on Thursday Dec. 4.
Several months and 700 pages after their start, a group of Cal State Fullerton students were put to the test in a 10-minute legal argument before judges last week.
Pamela Fiber-Ostrow, Ph.D., professor of politics, administration and justice, has guided her students through the process that brought them to the moot court regionals last week. Six of the students qualified as finalists and will move on to the national event in January.
Gregory Brown, Elisabeth Carter, Amanda Carreno and EJ Lingenfelter, Kristin Kane and Brianna Flores make up the three, two-person teams that will represent CSUF at the next level of competition.
Every year, the American Collegiate Moot Court Association releases the case in May and students begin preparing. This year’s regionals saw the students argue on the issue of abortion using the 1st and 14th Amendments in addition to legal precedents.
Carter,a senior and double-major in political science and psychology, said that the unique thing about CSUF’s team is that with many disadvantages, they are still able to outcompete the other schools.
The team wasn’t faced only with struggles, though. Returning team members helped buoy first-time students, an advantage that came in addition to an issue which, Carter said, was easier to argue than previous years’ topics.
The students paired for each team were partnered by Fiber-Ostrow to balance each other out, an advantage that further aided the teams during the competition, said Carreno, a political science major.
The program as a whole, Carreno said, is valuable for students who take part, but is often overlooked.
“It’s something that Cal State Fullerton should be known for. I tell people about this program and they say ‘Oh I haven’t heard of that,’” Carreno said. “It really prepares you for law school in general.”
Presenting legal terms conversationally was yet another challenge, Carreno said. The semester’s worth of intense work, however, paid off in the end, she said.
“This program is all about delayed gratification; it’s about knowing that you’re not going to get exactly what you want when you want it. It’s about working hard and hoping it pays off,” Carreno said.
The six finalists will attend nationals this coming January to compete for the National Championship Tournament of intercollegiate moot court at the Florida International University College of Law in Miami, Florida.