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UL Lafayette’s moot court team headed to nationals once again

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Story update: Alyssa Canova and Sophia Cefolia, members of UL Lafayette's moot court team, placed fourth in the National Appellate Brief Writing competition. The competition was part of the American Moot Court Association National Tournament, held Jan. 17-18 at Southern University in Baton Rouge. UL Lafayette, Southern and the Baton Rouge Bar Association were the competition's cohosts. Canova is a history and political science major at the University. Cefolia majors in political science. 

The orginal story: The University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the Southern University Law Center will cohost the American Moot Court Association National Tournament.

The competition will be held Jan. 17-18 on Southern’s campus in Baton Rouge. UL Lafayette’s moot court team also will participate in the tournament. It’ll be the only Louisiana team in the competition.

The team qualified for the 2020 nationals during regional competition last year. Fewer than 20 percent of moot court teams advance to nationals, said Dr. McKinzie Hall, assistant professor of political science at UL Lafayette who directs the University’s moot court team.

The University has fielded a team at nationals in each of the past four years. This year’s team consists of four students, most of whom are political science majors.

“Moot court is a competitive co-curricular activity, which is designed to help students improve public speaking and research skills. Students are given a hypothetical case and are asked to address the relevant legal issues,” Hall explained.

In the format of a mock supreme court, each side is given time to make arguments before a panel of judges consisting of law students and legal professionals. The “judges” may interrupt and ask questions. “Interacting with these professionals enables students to better understand the expectations of the legal community and allows them to develop a network that will serve them beyond graduation,” Hall said.

Moot court participants can qualify for law school scholarships. Over the past three years, UL Lafayette’s moot court members have earned more than a half million dollars in scholarships.

UL Lafayette’s team has placed first in the Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association’s competition twice in the past three years. In various tournaments since 2015, the University’s squad has earned 23 top 10 speaker awards, including three first place speakers; nine octo-finalist teams; seven quarterfinalist teams, four semifinalist teams; and three finalist teams.

Photo caption: UL Lafayette moot court team members Coby Menard, Alyssa Canova, Sophia Cefolia and Lenika Billera participated in last year’s Midwest Regional Tournament at the College of Wooster in Ohio. (Photo credit: University of Louisiana at Lafayette)