Fitchburg State Students Excel in Moot Court National Competition

moot court
FSU Moot Court (Paul Weizer)

By John Plue
Fitchburg State University attended the American Moot Court Association’s National tournament championship from January 12 to 13 in Orlando, Florida. Moot court is a course offered by Fitchburg State University. Fitchburg State’s website describes moot court as “a simulation of an appellate court proceeding is also known as a Supreme Court Simulation. Moot court involves teams of students representing clients burdened by a legal problem. Oral arguments detailing the dimensions of the legal problem before an appellate court are judged by actual attorneys and judges.”  Six students attended the tournament. Among those six, Matthew Murphy and Riley Grinkis made it to the second day in oral argument, placing them in the top 10 percent of the teams in North America according to Paul Weizer, a professor of political science at Fitchburg State University.
Murphy and Grinkis finished second among the 80 teams that participated, and Kajahna Matos and Theresa Klobucher finished tenth. Fitchburg also won two awards in the brief writing contest. The brief writing contest is a written argument that is based on an issue that is posted on the American Collegiate Moot Court Association website.
Grinkis graduated in December 2018 and will be attending Northeastern Law School. “It felt really exciting to make it as far as we did. It is truly an honor to represent Fitchburg State as the part of the top 10 percent of the nation,” said Grinkis.
Matos, a junior majoring in political science, said: “It felt extremely rewarding going to nationals and winning tenth place in the national brief.” Matos did not advance the year before and that as a big driving factor for this year’s tournament, “I made sure this year I would finish strong, surpassing my obstacles from last year.”
To help prepare themselves many of the students prepared outside of the classroom. Grinkis explains that “asking the other students questions as a judge helps prepare you as well because you are seeing the oral argument from every side.”
Moot court is a requirement for all American Law Schools, but it can also benefit all students in all majors. “The lessons one takes from moot court can truly be transferable to any profession,” said Grinkis.