Law team heads to nationals

By Brittney Coulter
Staff Writer

Three Baylor Law students returned from the Emory Civil Rights Moot Court Competition qualified to compete at the national moot court championship in January.

Thirty-two teams were in attendance total, including two from Baylor. The second team from Baylor participated in the preliminaries but did not advance.

The winning team consisted of students Marietta, Ga. sophomore Anna Williams, Fort Worth sophomore Saba Syed and sophomore Sarah Scott.

The competition was held Oct. 14-16 at the Emory Law School in Atlanta. It focused on First and Fourth Amendment issues.

The team members said they were proud of their win.

“It’s nice to know that all of your hard work could lead up to something so special,” said Syed.

The team started preparing for the competition when they received the problem packet on Aug. 1 that contained the questions to be argued at the competition.

Their first order of business was to work with Scott, the team’s primary writer, to compose their brief. A brief is a 30-page legal document outlining the team’s position.

Once the brief was finished, the team practiced before a judge every other day to polish its presentation.

Both Syed and Williams were assigned to develop arguments for civil rights.

The duo debated the right to protest war at the funerals of dead soldiers and also the right of law enforcement to search cell phones without warrants.

“We covered issues that are usually constitutional issues about people’s basic civil rights,” said Williams.

The event started with three preliminary rounds to narrow the competition to 16 teams. The remaining teams competed in octofinals, then quarterfinals and semifinals. The Baylor team beat Southern Methodist University in the final round.

Participants competed in front of a panel of three judges who ranked the teams based on their knowledge, presentation skills and ability to answer questions.

“In this kind of competition, the judges ask us questions when they’re not sure about something, and so the highest number of points come from when [competitors] can answer questions thoughtfully, accurately and in a way that convinces them,” Syed said.

The team will advance to compete in the Andrews Kurth National Moot Court Championship on Jan. 27 in Houston.

According to the Championship website, the event “provides the top 16 law school moot court programs the opportunity to compete for the best of the best.”

Williams says she is excited for the competition.

“It’s the first time Baylor’s been invited to it,” Williams said. “I’m really glad that we could bring some recognition to the school.”