Moot Court Team becomes one of the top two teams in New York City

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For the first time in twenty years, members of the Townsend Harris Moot Court team made history as finalists in the MENTOR Moot Court Competition. Competing amongst approximately fifty New York City high schools, the THHS Moot Court team practices legal research and oration with assistance from mentor lawyers. This year, the team advanced to the finals held at Thurgood Marshall Courthouse in downtown Manhattan.

In this year’s competition, the Moot Court team, with senior Hope Ha and freshman Andre Chen as the speakers, represented the defense in a case where  “a student was expelled for keying a teacher’s car. The case revolved around the fourth and fifth amendment, the right against search and seizure,” according history teacher and advisor Nicole Gleizer. The Moot Court team from James Madison High School represented the prosecution.

In order to prepare for this competition, the students worked extremely hard, meeting three times a week after school. On one day, the speakers would develop their arguments and be questioned by their teammates in order to prepare for the potential questions that the judges may ask them. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the team would go to a law firm in Manhattan in order to collaborate with actual lawyers and strengthen their arguments. Freshman Elliot Heath described that they “sometimes [had]extra practices after school for even more practice time.” He said, “It really was a lot, but it apparently paid off in the end.” 

“It was a lot of fun. The kids were great to work with. They are an amazing group of people,” said Ms. Gleizer. “I recommend that every student in the building learns about Moot Court because what these students do is incredible.”

“Being able to articulate our thoughts and legal analyses in front of a panel of judges, especially in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, is a surreal and valuable experience,” said Hope. “As one of the top two teams in NYC for the first time since 1999, [this] is the perfect way to end this season and my experience in Moot Court.”