By Rachel Choe ’17
Order in the court! On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students participated in a program called “Moot Court” at 125 Broad Street in the Financial District. This program went on from late September to late November as students worked with lawyers in an imitation to court cases.
According to Michelle Fabio on lawschool.about.com, moot court is a competition, as well as a law school activity, that allows students to prepare and argue cases in front of judges. Moot court is also known as a mock court in which students, who presumably are interested in law, can practice with imaginary cases for future practice.
Stephanie Chowdry ’17, a student that was in the program, said, “Moot court is when a decision on a case was already made in a lower federal court and in moot court, you revaluate the law and see if it was properly interpreted in the case.”
Instead of going into the trials head-on without any knowledge, many of the experienced lawyers aided the students with much practice. The students were trained to project their voices in order to be loud and clear when presenting an argument. This was all in preparation for a citywide tournament, which was held in Fordham Law School. According to fordham.edu, Fordham has developed a tradition holding championship competition teams annually.
Although Mr. Stuart Rothstein was in charge of moot court, the students spent more time on Wall Street with lawyers, rather than in our courtroom here in Midwood.
“Many of the lawyers were nice and patient with us, since we were beginners and most of us were not used to a court trail,” said Chowdry. She also stated that the lawyers were easygoing and helped improve their public speaking skills. During the two days they met each week, students were pushed vigorously to present an argument in front of lawyers and their peers.
“The work was tough, strenuous, and stressful but it was all worth it at the end.” Chowdry noted. “I gained so much information and I am more comfortable speaking in public when presenting a case.”
Now that moot court is over, the students are participating in mock trial held here at Midwood. Mock trial is also an act or imitation trial and is similar to moot court. The difference is that mock trials replicate lower-court trials, while moot court mimics appellate court hearings, also known as court of second instance. They are both extracurricular programs in high school in which students can participate in rehearsed court cases, or trials, to adapt the legal system in a competitive manner.
In the end, students were able to take part in a competitive program that familiarizes them in a court environment to practice the law.