HPU Moot Court students named regional champs, advance to nationals

Moot CourtBROWNWOOD – December 18, 2013 – Howard Payne University recently dominated the Southwestern Regional Moot Court Championship at Baylor University Law School, with an HPU team beating the top team from Texas A&M University in the final round. Katie Rose Bonner, a junior from Lytle, and Elizabeth Rogers, a senior from Grand Junction, Colo., were named Southwestern Regional Champions and received an automatic invitation to the National Championship of Intercollegiate Moot Court on January 17-18, at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

An additional HPU team comprised of Cayden McDonald, a senior from Whitehouse, and Christopher Mitchell, a junior from Pecos, advanced to quarter-finals and later received an invitation to compete in the national competition as well.

Awards were given to the top 10 speakers at the competition, including Bonner, Rogers and McDonald. This is a further testament to their practice and preparation, according to their sponsor Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of political science at HPU.

“I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication the students have demonstrated over the course of the semester, evidenced by the results at this most recent tournament,” she said. “Most of our team was new to moot court, and had no prior exposure to this form of oral advocacy. This did not stop them from besting more seasoned teams.”

Undergraduate moot court competitions simulate the experience of arguing a case before the United States Supreme Court. According to the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s website, teams that finish in the top 20 percent of each regional event earn an automatic bid to the national tournament.

Also competing from HPU were Zachary Eller, a freshman from Temple; Zachary Gafford, a senior from Brownwood; Colton McCabe, a junior from Gatesville; and Ryan Young, a senior from Mesquite.

Dr. Justin D. Murphy, Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities, and director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, said he is also pleased with the successes of the Moot Court team.

“I am especially proud of Professor Kelley’s role in leading the team,” he said. “She is an outstanding asset to HPU and the Moot Court program.”

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Photo cutline: Eight HPU students recently competed at the Southwestern Regional Moot Court Championship at Baylor University Law School, with four advancing to the national championships in January. Left to right: Elizabeth Rogers, champion; Katie Rose Bonner, champion; Cayden McDonald, quarterfinalist; and Christopher Mitchell, quarterfinalist.