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Release: Jan. 23, 2001

UI Law students to compete in national moot court competition

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa third-year law students Jennifer Gates, Chris Murray and Angela Dralle will represent the UI at the 51st annual National Moot Court Competition in New York when competition begins there Monday, Jan. 29.

In a test of their advocacy skills, law students from 14 regions across the country will argue before a panel of circuit court judges a First Amendment and statutory construction case.

Such competitions help to prepare students for their first day in court, said second-year student John Craiger.

"In law school, experience is the one thing that students don't always have a chance to gain more of. The opportunity to argue a case in front of real judges is an invaluable experience," Craiger said.

Two teams from the UI College of Law competed in the moot court regional competition last November; however, the team made up of second-year students Coree Smith, Shannon Wise, and Craiger, lost in the preliminary round. Teams advance based on scores earned on three oral arguments and a written brief. The team of Gates, Murray, and Dralle earned the Best Respondent's Brief en route to winning the regional. Jesse Christenson, a member of last year's Iowa team, coached both groups at the regional.

Gates said her three-member team's performance in the regional proved to them that they have the ability to "rise to the occasion."

"We responded well to the competition and improved our oral performances as we advanced. Plus, we enjoyed the opportunity to observe some great oral advocacy by the other teams.

"Our primary goal is to reach the quarter finals of the national competition and to feel and appear confident and convincing in all of our arguments," Gates said.

This year marks the first time in five years that a UI team has advanced to the national finals, said Craiger, who will coach the UI's national team during the finals.