Photo courtesy by Pre-Law Center (UIS)
For those more interested in law than politics, an alternative to Model Illinois Government (MIG) is Moot Court. UIS Moot Court is an organization similar to MIG in that students meet to hone their public speaking and argumentative skills, but rather than preparing to make arguments from the floor of the State Senate or General Assembly, members of Moot Court prepare cases to present in the Illinois Supreme Court.
Like members of MIG, members of Moot Court attend Simulation in the spring. At Simulation, students form two-person teams and face off against teams from other schools. Each team takes a particular side of the case and formulates an argument based on the pattern of facts and legal precedent. They then present this argument before a panel of judges and are evaluated for the quality of their arguments, the legal foundation behind these arguments, and the quality of their presentation of the facts.
Alongside the club itself, UIS offers an accompanying class, Appellate Advocacy PSC 414/LES 413. This class helps students prepare for Simulation and earn credit while doing so. Though this class is recommended, it should be noted that it is not required. Students are expected to show a mastery of a 60-to-80-page case file and make precise legal arguments based on this file. It should also be noted that one cannot be a member of MIG and Moot Court at the same time due to the time conflicts of both organizations at Simulation.
The UIS Moot Court team has made it to the finals for the past three years and won finals two of those three years.
When questioned on what the best aspect of Moot Court was, the club’s advisor, Dr. Jason Pierceson, Professor of Political Science, said “The best thing about Moot Court is the opportunity to develop critical thinking and argumentation skills.”
Those interested in joining should contact Dr. Pierceson at [email protected]