Students involved with Moot Court at Millikin have been giving our university a good name for many years. The Moot Court Competition on the weekend of Feb. 27 in Springfield, Illinois was no different.
Every year students participate in intense preparation overseen by Dr. Robert Money for weeks before the competition. Millikin typically sends several teams of attorneys, as well as student justices.
Freshman Theater major Taylor Lindemann, along with partner John Tasch, were among one of two Millikin attorney groups to make it into the Moot court Finals. Each team participates in a series of court simulations over the weekend. When they win, they move up and into quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.
Finals are composed of four groups of student attorneys. This year, as explained by Senior Philosophy major Kara Anderson, the judging was done much differently than it has been done in the past.
This was Anderson’s second year participating in Moot Court where she served as a student justice. Student justices are usually appointed after participating as attorneys for two years. Last year, Anderson and partner Alice Dembinski won the competition, and Anderson was given the opportunity to be a justice despite only one year of experience. It is the job of the justice to judge the attorney’s arguments and presentation as well as challenge them, as they would in the actual court of law.
This year, the teams were caught a little off guard by a change in judging. Instead of judging the way they have in previous years, by which team wins each case, they chose to do a point system where attorney teams were awarded points based on aspects of the case, such as their presentation, analysis and argument.
Other than Lindemann’s team, another Millikin team, made of Courtney Burress and Josh Rose made it to the finals. Burress is a junior Philosophy/pre-law and B.A. music double major. At the Sunday awards banquet, Burress was voted Chief Justice, which puts her on the Model Illinois Government executive board and in charge of next year’s Moot court competition.
Not all students in Moot Court at Millikin are planning to go to law school, much like Lindemann and Anderson, they simply see Moot Court as a good experience.
Lindemann said, “It’s these immersive experiences and the whole idea of performance learning. These experiences are what I love about Millikin.” Even though he is a theater major, he feels that participating in Moot Court has allowed him to grow considerably and provided him with high analytical and argument skills, as well as confidence in public speaking.
Anderson feels the same way. Though she isn’t planning on going to law school, and says that only about half of the students in Moot Court are planning on law school, she encourages other students to pursue Moot Court if they are interesting. She says, “I think this experience can be really great for analytical reasoning because you do a lot with how to create arguments and find evidence to support you claims, which can be really useful in any academic area. You also learn a lot about public speaking and how to present your evidence.”
For Burress, the Moot Court experience is what made her change her major to Philosophy/pre-law. “This experience is really hands on,” she said, “it affirmed that this is what I want to be doing and it made me change my major.” She also encourages students to try Moot Court if they have an interest because it has been one of her most fun and memorable experiences at Millikin. Not to mention that “Dr. Money is a cool cat.”