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UL Lafayette’s student Moot Court Team number five in nation

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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s student Moot Court Team is ranked fifth in the nation on the American Moot Court Association’s Top Programs list.

Team members who represented UL Lafayette at the association’s national tournament deserve credit for the lofty status. This year’s tournament was held virtually in January.

Coby Menard, a senior psychology major, was recognized as the national champion individual orator in the individual advocacy competition. Menard and teammate Lenika Billera, a senior political science and psychology major, placed eighth in the written appellate brief competition.

Olivia Guidry, a junior English and political science major, and Sophia Cefolia, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2020, advanced to the final four.

“For perspective, over 100 schools registered for the AMCA 2020-2021 season,” said Dr. McKinzie Hall, an assistant professor of political science who directs the team. “Of those schools, nearly 50 had teams who participated in the national competition. We are honored to be ranked in the top five."

Hall continued: “All schools experienced enormous challenges this season because of the pandemic. The fact that these students not only competed but competed so extraordinarily well this year is a testament to their skills and determination.”

UL Lafayette’s Moot Court Team is the first – and only nationally competitive – team in Louisiana. Since 2017, its members have earned more than $1 million dollars in law school scholarships.

Moot court is designed to help students develop skills in public speaking, advocacy and legal research, Hall said.

“Moot court is a competitive cocurricular activity where students participate in mock Supreme Court oral arguments. Practicing attorneys act as Supreme Court justices and question students on their legal arguments,” she explained.

The University team has placed first in the Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association’s competition twice in the past four 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: The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s moot court team is ranked fifth in the nation on the American Moot Court Association’s Top Programs list. Team members are, top row, from left, Lenika Billera and Sophia Cefolia. Olivia Guidry and Coby Menard are in the bottom row. (Photo credit: UL Lafayette Moot Court Team)