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Holy Cross Moot Court Team Comes Out On Top in National Competition

Amber John ‘22 places first in the nation in Oral Advocacy
February 14th, 2020 by 

A group of nicely dressed students stand together and smile
Members of the Holy Cross Moot Court Team at the American Moot Court Association National Championship. Photo courtesy of American Moot Court Association

Last month, while most Holy Cross students were soaking up their last few days of winter break, members of the Holy Cross Moot Court team traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to compete in the American Moot Court Association (AMCA) National Championship. The participants, eight Holy Cross students ranging from sophomores to seniors, presented their arguments among a highly qualified and competitive field of students from more than 35 colleges and universities from around the country. Multiple students from Holy Cross placed among the top competitors, including Amber John ’22 and Will Hamilton ’22, who placed first and fourth, respectively, in the nation in Oral Advocacy.

“The best thing about moot court is really the fact that we win as a team; every single member, captain and coach is a huge part of any individual’s successes,” says John. “Winning the national title in Individual Oral Advocacy was not just a symbol of how much I’ve put into this activity, but how much the team has worked to help get me there.”

Although the team competes together in pairs, much of the practice and preparation is done collaboratively in the months leading up to the competition. The team’s head coach, John O’Donnell, spoke highly of the team’s performance.

“To have the top attorney in the competition really speaks not only to individual talent but to the leadership on the team as well,” O’Donnell says.

O’Donnell especially emphasized the impact senior leadership and returning alumni have had on the team’s performance, touting their contributions of support and experience as key elements to the team’s success.

The Holy Cross Moot Court team competes at both the regional and national level. Similar to Mock Trial competitions, the structure of a Moot Court competition is designed as a mock Supreme Court argument, where two teams compete against one another to present their arguments before a panel of elected judges and local attorneys who decide the winner.

The AMCA competition was extremely selective this year, with only the top 16% of Moot Court competitors in the country earning invitations to compete. Arguments were heard over two days, with only the top students moving on to compete on the second day. Holy Cross students competed on both the first and second days, with multiple students progressing into the later rounds. The Moot Court team would like to thank not only their supportive coaches and team members, but also the Holy Cross community for their support this season.

“The Moot Court trip to New Orleans was a really special way for me to close out my four-year career on the team,” says Moot Court team member Spencer Caron ’20. ” Doing so well in competition this season is a good way to thank both our coaches and Holy Cross for their support.”

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