Moot Court team advances to semifinals

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By Nefertari Elshiekh, staff writer

The Townsend Harris High School Moot Court team recently competed at Fordham University, where their performance allowed them to advance to the semifinals, which took place on Friday, December 1, 2017 at Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse. They competed against Stuyvesant High School, Brooklyn Technical High School, and High School of American Studies at Lehman College. The team prepared for this competition through training from KMZ Rosenman Law Firm in Manhattan, as well as from Social Studies teacher Siobhan Brand who serves as the advisor of the team.

Hope Ha, a sophomore who attended the Moot Court competition, described her experience at the semifinals. She said, “I stood in front of these three adult judges and lawyers who were sitting several feet above me on an elevated platform with high seats, looking down at me and ready to pounce on anything I said. In the previous competition, we were in a cramped conference room with Fordham Law Students, and it was much less intense. For the semifinals, we were in an actual courtroom where we spoke into a microphone. It was hard to comprehend at that time. It was like jumping from a kiddie pool to the Olympic competitions!”

Sophomore and Moot Court team member Clara Greceanu recalls the moment when the team found out that they were advancing to the semifinals. She described, “The whole group was huddled together at a table in McDonald’s, and the team leader kept refreshing her email to see if the results had come in. After finding out the news, we all began congratulating each other. The former leader even called to congratulate us, and we received an email from one of our mentors where he expressed how proud he was.”

The Moot Court team made it farther than it has in several years, and Clara continued on to say that the team’s success was truly “a team effort and cannot be attributed to one person. We all gave it our best, and in the end it paid off. We also owe a large part of our success to the patient lawyers that guided us through the case, pointing out details and taking time out from their own work to help us.”

This year’s Moot Court season has ended with great success for the THHS team. Now the students will be preparing for Mock Trial. Clara strongly encourages other students to join. She said, “The main thing I love is the team feeling when we’re all together at the firm. While some would think there isn’t the same team feeling as a sports team would have, it is very similar. We all bond over what we enjoy, as well as get to learn about things that impact society as a whole.”

Hope concludes, “Everyone at the law firm and on the team is so supportive, and while being on the team requires a lot of time and effort, it is definitely worth it.”