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HPU Moot Court takes several awards at national tournament

Moot Court National Tournament for webBROWNWOOD – January 26, 2017 – Members of Howard Payne University’s Moot Court team brought home several awards from the American Moot Court Association’s National Tournament held at the beginning of January at Stetson College of Law in Gulfport, Florida.

Two HPU teams qualified to compete in the tournament. Caitlin Wood, a December 2016 graduate from Miles, and Jackson Spencer, a junior from Georgetown, qualified by advancing to quarterfinals at the Texas A&M University School of Law Regional Tournament. Rebeca Puente, senior from Waskom, and Isaac Sommers, senior from Boerne, qualified by winning the same regional tournament, beating the United States Air Force Academy in the final round.

At the national tournament, Sommers was named the fifth overall speaker out of 786 competitors. The team of Puente and Sommers advanced to out-rounds, placing in the top sixteen of 80 teams.

In a competition of written arguments submitted prior to the tournament, two HPU teams won awards for petitioner briefs. The team of Bailey Myler, sophomore from Brownwood, and Justin Harris, junior from Fort Worth, placed sixth. Puente and Sommers placed seventh.

Moot Court is a competition during which students participate in the preparation and arguing of cases in front of judges, designed to simulate argument before the United States Supreme Court. The case and allowed resources are selected beforehand and students must prepare arguments for both sides (petitioner and respondent). Moot Court involves appellate cases as opposed to those at the trial level, which are often called “mock trials.” Judges are usually law professors, attorneys from the community and even members of the judiciary. Students are judged on their ability to incorporate case law into their arguments, their oral and written arguments and their presentation style.

Lorianna Kelley, assistant professor of government and Moot Court sponsor, said she is proud of how HPU’s Moot Court team performed this year.

“Winning awards in both the oral and written components of the tournament demonstrates how well rounded our students are,” she said. “Not only are they well spoken, but they also have the ability to apply complex case law to difficult legal problems. HPU has been recognized as one of the top 20 teams in the nation, and that is only possible through the hard work and dedication of our team. I look forward to continued success at the spring invitational tournament at Southern Methodist University this March.”


Cutline: Members of HPU’s Moot Court team recently competed in the American Moot Court Association’s National Tournament. Left to right: Jackson Spencer, Isaac Sommers, Rebeca Puente, Bailey Myler and Justin Harris. Not pictured is Caitlin Wood.