UIW Students Advance to American Moot Court Association National Tournament

January 19, 2024

Holland and Goeke holding awards at A&M School of LawAt UIW, Political Science and Pre-Law students are eligible to enroll in the “Moot Court” course, a class that provides a high impact, applied learning experience focused on the basics of constructing and delivering appellate arguments. The course simulates an undergraduate competition for oral and written advocacy administrated by the American Moot Court Association (AMCA). The class, like the competition, utilizes a legal hypothetical and list of case authorities for which students must read, brief, and integrate case law into their own appellate-style arguments. Participation in the course not only prepares them for, but also provides students the opportunity to compete in the actual AMCA national tournament.

In the most recent AMCA Moot Court competition, UIW’s Political Science and Pre-Law programs sponsored student participation in the annual qualifying rounds. These rounds resulted in an impressive win for UIW, as first-time competitors Elizabeth Holland and Alexandra Goeke advanced to the semi-finals at the regional qualifying tournament held at the Texas A&M School of Law, where they placed 5th.

Due to their exceptional performance, Holland and Goeke were awarded a slot at the preliminary rounds of the national tournament, which will take place at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas on Jan. 20 and 21.

Holland, a Political Science major set to graduate in May 2024, started off at UIW as a part-time student in Spring 2022 and intended to transfer her credits over to another school after completing the semester. However, after her first semester at the Nest, she realized that UIW is where she wants to earn her degree.

“UIW’s community is so encouraging and welcoming, and the political science department is no different,” Holland shared. “I’ve received great guidance on my career and have also learned some important life skills.”

Selfie of Holland and Goeke with awardsGoeke is a junior majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Pre-Law. She came to UIW with a fascination for law, politics and political systems, and has found that the school allows her to nurture these interests.

Both students have put in a great amount of effort in preparation for the tournament. Holland recalls how she and Goeke rehearsed their arguments for several weeks. During argument rehearsals, professors would often interject with questions that challenged them to answer quickly, accurately, and in support of their arguments.

Despite the challenges of this competition, both are glad to see that their hard work has paid off and that they get to move forward into the preliminary round as a team.

“It feels unreal,” shared Goeke. “I still remember preparing for nationals and devoting all of my time reading Supreme Court cases and forming different arguments. It is relieving to know that my moot court partner has my back, and that we can rely on each other.”

Both students find it enjoyable that their fields of study are applicable to everyday life as they actively study current events, present elections, and other political affairs. Their love and dedication to their studies have even influenced the goals that they have set for their futures.

Holland and Goeke standingHolland would like to go to law school before practicing environmental law, a role in which she hopes to make impactful efforts in protecting the earth. Goeke would like to pursue her Juris Doctor degree and study international law with a focus on human rights and refugees.

Presently, their UIW professors, which include Dr. Lydia Andrade, Dr. Scott Dittloff, Dr. Michael Forrest and Dr. Brandon Metroka, are all very proud of their students. Both students recognize their mentors as some of their greatest supporters, both during this competition and in their overall education.

“Our students are incredibly skilled, motivated, and resilient - I hope they are proud of themselves for their efforts. Teaching will always be the most rewarding part of this position,” shared Dr. Metroka, associate professor and Pre-Law advisor.

As Holland and Goeke travel to Nevada this weekend to compete, Dr. Metroka leaves them with a few words of encouragement:

“You already demonstrated your abilities at the regional tournament, beating out teams from several well-known colleges and universities. You have all the skills and practice necessary for a competitive outing. This achievement is just icing on the cake. You've got this!”