By Nicole Gelfman ’18
Moot Court gives the opportunity for students to explore the world of criminal law.
The program offers a law firm (which differs every year) with lawyers who mentor students and prepare them to argue fake cases in front of real judges. This preparation leads into competition against other schools at Fordham University School of Law.
This year’s case discusses two students, Tyler Kreetor and Tiffany Anco, who had placed a bomb in their school because Kreetor and Anco were part of an anti-American terrorist organization. A school guard, having prior knowledge of their affiliation with the group, notified authorities to evacuate the school, proceeding to chase down the students. She frantically looked through Kreetor’s cell phone when she grabbed hold of him, leaving Tiffany Anco at large.
The two issues members had to argue were whether the Fourth Amendment allows the warrantless search of the cellphone under possible urgent circumstances and whether the court could permit the unlocking of information on said cellphone.
Mr. Stuart Rothstein, coordinator of the Moot Court team since 1993, states that this program gives the benefits of learning how to argue an appeals case before a court, as well as enhancing public speaking skills and giving more confidence to students. It also helps if they are considering law school.
Michelle Antonov ’17 said, “I learned a substantial amount of law and how law operates as well as skills it takes to successfully present as a lawyer and compete.”
This seems to be a constant theme as Amanda Esau ’17, the team captain, stated, “After three years, I’ve learned so much about the law I never knew.”
This program has helped both members become more social and confident in presentations as well as boost their knowledge of law.
However, due to the manner in which the program ran in the last years, Mr. Rothstein has stated that there has been a regression. Students are not receiving the full opportunities they deserve, causing a set-back in the way the team excels in the competition. “The person in charge should abide by the rules of the Moot Court competition,” said Mr. Rothstein, further expanding on how the rules are constantly bent.
Despite these minor setbacks, members of the team find it to be an enjoyable experience, even when balancing AP courses, extracurriculars, and additional clubs.