Aggie Law Students Continue Advocacy Competition Success

November 20, 2015

Advocacy-Team-Nov2015Chicago Bar National Moot Court Competition second place team of Melissa Cather, Jeremy Black and Nick Lidji with their coach Jayson Nag

Texas A&M University School of Law students are at it again with success in advocacy, moot court and negotiation competitions nationwide, from Chicago to San Diego.

3L Andy Bell received ​third place Best Advocate Award at the San Diego Criminal Procedure National Moot Court Tournament at the end of October. He and partner 2L Christen Sutton finished in the national round of 16. The team was coached by Melinda Westmoreland Nag (Texas Wesleyan University School of Law ’06).

On Nov. 12-14 in Chicago, 3L Jeremy Black, 2L Nick Lidji and 2L Melissa Cather placed ​second at the Chicago Bar National Moot Court Competition. The team narrowly missed taking the title. The team was coached by Jayson Nag (Texas Wesleyan University School of Law ’11). 

Black said the moot court’s result in Chicago is a “testament” to the professors’ and coaches’ willingness to invest their time in the students.

Black said this will give students a “solid foundation to understand and clearly articulate the complexities of the law and policy.”

On Nov. 13-14 in Provo, Utah, 3Ls Lynne Nash and Dwight Tom were regional finalists at the American Bar Association Negotiation Competition, narrowly missing advancement to the national finals. They were coached by Chris Watts (Texas Wesleyan University School of Law ’00) and Adjunct Professor Kay Elliott.

Elliott said these competitions are an effective method for developing the critical skills of writing and thinking as a lawyer and ​cultivating advocacy ​talents.

“Only through advocacy competition before expert judges can a student hone, polish and be critiqued on these skills – no one will tell you in legal practice whether your advocacy skills are brilliant or bad,” she said. “Too few lawyers were trained in problem solving and persuasion before graduation in the past, but that is changing.”

Elliott also said that legal interviewers today are more focused on whether the new lawyer already has those skills necessary to perform well without extensive mentoring. Nash said this is a benefit for law students participating in such advocacy/mediation programs.

"The days of firms hiring on graduates and then spending two years to train them in the practical ways of 'how to be an attorney' are fleeting or gone entirely,” Nash said. “Being able to talk about my experiences within the advocacy competitions gives me an edge in an interview."

Read more on previous advocacy and mediation recognition here.

Learn more about the Advocacy Program:

The Advocacy Program at Texas A&M School of Law is a key component of making Aggie law students practice-ready. Directed by Jennifer Ellis (Texas Wesleyan University School of Law '05), the Advocacy Program consists of three disciplines: appellate advocacy (moot court), trial advocacy (mock trial) and dispute resolution (mediation, negotiation and client counseling).

The Texas A&M Law Moot Court, Mock Trial and Alternative Dispute Resolution teams are nationally recognized. Since the law school’s inception, the program has received 3 international, 11 national, 19 regional and one state championship, 14 best advocate and 13 best brief awards.

- Article by Jennifer Nassar, Communications Specialist, Texas A&M University School of Law