POLS Students Rise to Moot Court Challenge

Members of the UT Arlington moot court team take a break from competition. Pictured, from left, are Dr. Joseph Ignagni, Verica Todorovic, Olivia Llanes, Jesse Calderon, and Neal Parekh. (Photo contributed)

Four Political Science majors said they gained experience and confidence after participating in an international moot court competition in Austria this spring.

Preparations took 10 months and students were required to raise $12,000 for the trip. But senior Olivia Llanes said competing at Vis Arbitrational Moot contest in Vienna, Austria, several weeks ago was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and has better prepared her and her teammates for law school.

“It was a complete challenge,” said Llanes, who is also a Spanish major. “To know you are capable, with so many things going on, to do what you want… it was rewarding to go, to compete against international law students. To be an undergrad, to be a senior, and have that experience … it was wonderful to experience that.”

The team included Llanes, Jesse Calderon, Neal Parekh and Verica Todorovic, and was advised by Professor Dr. Joseph Ignagni. Before the competition the UT Arlington team prepared a 30-page legal brief on an international case and worked with local attorneys on their presentation and arguments.

The team worked in two-person pairs, alternating their presentations during the four-day event. Llanes said her team was the only undergraduate team in the competition – an exception allowed due to work several years ago by the late Dr. Charles Knerr. Despite the experience and age differences, Llanes said the judges’ critiques of their presentations were in line with many of the teams from law schools around the world.

“Most people didn’t know we were undergrads, so the critiques were valid,” she said.

The UT Arlington team competed with teams from Switzerland, Brazil, Czech Republic and Romania.

[Story by James Dunning, COLA Communications]

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