Student Organizations

UConn Mock Trial Wins Awards at Regional Competition

Earlier this month, UConn Mock Trial competed in the regional tournament at Yale University. While they did not advance to the next round of competition, the team was awarded the Spirit of AMTA Award for best displaying the ideals of honesty,  civility and fair play. Additionally, Brendan Costello, was awarded one of the Outstanding Attorney Awards.

UConn Mock Trial continues to impress!

UConn Moot Court Team – National Competition Update

On January 17th and 18IMG_2338th, UConn Moot Court competed in the National Tournament for the American Collegiate Moot Court Association at Florida International University College of Law in Miami Florida. Each team consists of two students who argue both sides of a Supreme Court case before a panel of judges. This year, Luke LaRosa and Snigdha Mamillapalli represented UConn at the National Tournament.

To earn a spot to the National Tournament, teams must first compete in a regional tournament. The top scoring teams from each regional competition advance to the National tournament. Nearly 400 teams competed throughout the various regional competitions. Only 80 were invited to the national tournament.

For the first day of competition, teams compete in three rounds, against three different teams. At the close of the first day of competition, UConn was one of only 6 teams undefeated. 45 teams, including UConn advanced to the second day of competition. We were, unfortunately, eliminated in the second round of competition on Saturday. Our team ranked among the top 32 teams at the tournament. I am incredibly proud of their performance and dedication throughout the entire competition season.

In addition to the two students competing, several other members of the UConn Moot Court Team traveled to Miami to help cheer on our competitors. These students were the highest scoring UConn students at the regional competition in November who did not advance to the national tournament. They were a huge help to Luke and Snigdha as they prepared for the national competition.

Looking forward to next year’s competition season!

If you’re interested in finding out more about Moot Court, look for them at the Involvement Fair or find them on UConntact!

UConn Moot Court Competition Team 2015 in Miami


UConn Moot Court Advances to Nationals!

UConn Moot Court Team 2014

In 2013, UConn students worked with Pre-Law advisor Dr. Edward F. Kammerer, Jr. to launch an undergraduate UConn Moot Court Competition team, and in only its second year, a team of two students has earned a spot in the national competition at Florida International University College of Law this January 2015.

Luke LaRosa ’16 (CLAS) and Snigdha Mamillapalli ’16 (BUSN) are junior Honors students and members of the Special Program in Law. They are one of five teams (of two) that UConn sent to the Eastern Regional qualifying competition this past November in Fitchburg, Mass. In addition to his place at nationals, LaRosa also earned a “Top Orator” honor, which is awarded to the top ten debaters. He placed fourth out of the 124 competitors.

Fellow UConn Moot Court team members are Santorini Rivera ’16 (CLAS), Christopher Baker ’16 (CLAS), Leon Peschel ’16 (BUSN), Katie Cavanaugh ’17 (CLAS), Danielle Ullo ’17 (CLAS), Alexander Loukellis ’17 (BUSN), Ryan Norton ’17 (CLAS), and Jared Quigley ’18 (CLAS), all Honors students. These UConn undergraduates debated against more than 120 students across the region in Fitchburg. Many of these students were also part of Moot Court in its first year, including LaRosa and Mamillapalli.

While Moot Court competitions are common in law school, they are growing in popularity at the undergraduate level. “Moot Court teaches legal reasoning, but it also stresses critical analysis, public speaking, and flexibility,” says Kammerer. “A student may have a perfectly rehearsed speech, but a judge will interrupt at any moment, even mid-sentence. A team prepares for this by thoroughly understanding every aspect of the case and the arguments. Students cannot be tied to planned arguments. The judges’ questions require students to adapt their arguments to those questions. It takes skill and quick thinking, combined with knowledge of the case and the law to succeed during Moot Court.”

Each year, the mock appellate court case alternates between civil and criminal. This year’s Moot Court issue was abortion. Cases are generally hot topics intended to pique students’ interest and keep them engaged throughout the rigorous preparation. During the tournament, each member of the two-person team debates different precedents of existing case law, as they present originally crafted arguments related to the same issue. The UConn Moot Court team practiced weekly during the semester, and almost daily in the last days leading up to the competition. During the tournament, each team member has ten minutes to present his or her argument.

“Moot Court is a lot of work, but its benefits extend well-beyond the competitions,” says LaRosa. “I’ve been able to apply the skills I’ve learned to other courses and projects, including those not legally oriented. Moot Court helps me, and I think all of us on the team, think more critically about how we construct arguments on any topic.“ LaRosa is originally from Central Vermont and has interests in regional planning, land use law, and public policy. He is majoring in Urban and Community Studies as well as Geography, and is also a member of the Master’s in Public Administration Fast-Track Program. In addition to competing with the UConn Moot Court team, LaRosa works at the UConn Writing Center, interns with the Connecticut State Data Center, and is currently engaged in research regarding urban neighborhood development in Hartford. He was also a 2013 Holster Scholar  and was recently named a member of the competitive Leadership Legacy Experience program. LaRosa’s career goals include working in regional planning with an emphasis in land use law and policy.

Mamillapalli is a Connecticut resident who majors in Management Information Systems and Philosophy. She is a resident assistant, a mentor with Peer Allies Through Honors student group, and secretary for UConn Change Lives (which raises money for children in Bangladesh, Nepal, and India). She has earned various scholarships, held several internships (including those in the legal field), and speaks multiple languages. Mamillapalli plans to attend law school after completing her undergraduate degree. “What first interested me about Moot Court was the opportunity to develop my public speaking skills while focusing on constitutional issues. There’s nothing quite like getting up in front of a panel of real judges and attorneys, and having them interrupt and question the argument you’ve developed for months. It’s definitely a challenge and a thrill that has advanced my critical thinking skills,” says Mamillapalli.

The UConn Moot Court team is a Tier II student organization, receiving partial funding through USG. Membership is open to all undergraduate students. The team hopes to send several students to the national tournament event in Miami this January to support LaRosa and Mamillapalli, but also to continue the lessons learned from the Moot Court experience.

The tournament is hosted by the American Collegiate Moot Court Association.

UConn Mock Trial

The UConn Mock Trial Team at the 2014 Regional Competition

This month, the UConn Mock Trial Team competed in the AMTA regional competition at Roger Williams Law School.

I was able to watch several rounds of the competition and I was very impressed with everyone. The hard work and dedication that the team put in to preparing for the competition was clear. While we did not advance to the next round of the competition, we improved a lot from last year and I think we’ll continue to do better next year.

I was also very excited to see one of our students win the Best Witness award. Congratulations Danielle Ullo! For more information and to get involved with next year’s Mock Trial Team, check with them directly via UConntact.

Moot Court Regionals

The 2013 UConn Moot Court Team
The 2013 UConn Moot Court Team

This year, for the first time, UConn students competed in the Eastern Regional Moot Court Tournament at Fitchburg State University. In Moot Court, students compete in teams of two in a mock appellate argument. The competition is organized by the American Collegiate Moot Court Association. Regional competitions are every fall. The top teams from each regional competition advance to the nationals in January.

This year, the arguments involved a complicated 4th Amendment Search & Seizure and an equally complex Article II question on the scope of presidential authority. We competed against teams that had spent 5months working with the problem, many of whom took a specific course on moot court. Our team only had two months of preparation and did not receive course credit. And yet we still ranked in the top half of competition and nearly defeated the top ranked team. While we did not make it to nationals this year, I am excited to see what we can do next year! Congrats to all the students who competed. If you’d like to find out more about Moot Court and how to join the team for next year, contact the Pre-Law Office!