The Second Annual Moot Court took place this past Monday evening, and it's hard to capture the incredible success of the event. Over 150 people came together to see 6 of our rising stars argue transgender rights in a case taken directly from today's headlines. So many people worked tirelessly to make this event happen, from Board members to our new Legal Advisory Committee to HPE and HP Inc. to the Judges who made time in their busy schedules to attend- and, most importantly, to the students themselves, who spent hours and hours preparing their case. An enormous thank you to everyone who made this event possible, and who attended to show their support of our work to diversify the legal career pipeline!
After inspiring opening words from special guests Kim Rivera of HP Inc. and Paul Grewal of Facebook, the spotlight focused on the students. They truly shone, showing articulate composure during tough questioning from the Honorable Judge John Owens, Judge Michelle Friedland, and Judge Ed Davila. The Judges later commented that the students were "better than lawyers we see all the time." Afterwards, nearly every attendee remarked how impressed they were with the students' ability to think on their feet, their poise and confidence, and their analytical thinking.
As always, though, the students themselves say it best.
Bhargavi, Moot Court Debater: (Moot Court) was one of the best days of my life and it cemented the notion that I have what it takes to be a lawyer. The best feeling in the world was the moment when I finished my speech and walked back to my table where I was greeted by the warmth and love of my teammates. Never have I ever encountered such a supportive group...who not only motivated me to work as hard as I could, but inspired me to follow my passion. Chris Hersey and Cindy Koo were the main reason I was able to perform the way I did. If it wasn’t for their attention to detail and constant support I wouldn’t have learned as much as I did through this experience. If I learned anything from (Moot Court) it is this: I want to feel the way I did yesterday for the rest of my life. I want to be in the front lines and have an impact on the world, and after today I am absolutely sure I want to become a lawyer
Kim, Moot Court Debater: The entire moot court experience was so amazing. I had such a fun time with all of the girls on the SJ team, and the two months of prepping were so worth it. It really gave me a sense of what it would be like being a lawyer and getting that firsthand experience was priceless. I loved connecting and networking with different people as well. It's always nice talking about something you love...the experience itself, just walking up to people and right off the bat going, "Hi, I'm Kimberly! I'm a debater at SVUDL and I go to Silver Creek High School," is awesome. Meeting all the lawyers and the federal judges was super amazing as well, and hearing that our efforts were worth it, that we delivered solid arguments was so exhilarating. The best part though, was working together with my team. All of it went by so quickly and I remember just laughing so much, and the nervousness and all the stress melting away as I heard my wonderful team delivering their speeches with so much confidence and pride in their work. We all held hands at the end, and everyone (on both teams) gave each other so much love and support, as fellow debaters, counsel, and really good friends. I'm so honored to be able to be given this opportunity and overwhelmed by the love and passion at the event.
Santiago, Moot Court Debater: I was given the opportunity by SVUDL to participate in the 2nd annual Moot Court Event at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. It was an amazing experience and I gained so much. The preparation helped me gain skills that I can use to enhance my debate. I learned that you can always have more questions about a topic no matter how much you know about it. I practiced writing outlines with Moot Court and this is an important skill for debate especially for rebuttals. I also really enjoyed the people I worked with at Moot Court. I was able to meet some fantastic lawyers and had the honor of presenting in front of three of the best judges in the United States. Overall Moot Court was one of the best experiences I have had and the end result was amazing. I would gladly do Moot Court again if given the chance and am very grateful for the experience.
Nyisha, Moot Court Debater: My experience at Moot Court was more than I could have dreamed of. Preparing for only two months, 2 to 3 times a week, made this whole process go by so quickly. As I stood up in front of the 3 sitting Judges and made eye contact with each and every single one of them and seeing their head nod for reassurance, made my confidence and presence more known. I began to speak and they started asking questions I knew the lawyers and our team worked on and I gave it my best shot. Being up at the podium and being able to have a conversation with them is more than I thought I would ever do in my whole entire life time. I really really loved Moot Court and having that experience makes me want to pursue law even more than I already did.
Najma, Moot Court Volunteer and Student Observer: After watching my fellow debaters prep for weeks on end and give these well spoken speeches in front of the 9th Circuit Judges, it encouraged me to want to participate in next year's Moot Court. Having this opportunity to meet and converse with such successful individuals has been such a great experience overall.
Kierra, Moot Court Volunteer and Student Observer: This 2nd Moot Court was quite interesting to me. I really liked the subject matter for the event, it was a real world issue that not many people take the time to learn about. I'm really happy I was able to attend and see the 3 Judges. I had met all 3 last year, and seeing them in action was inspiring. I'm also extremely proud of all of the participants and people who put this together. From the San Jose side and Ms.T to the EPA side with Shauntrice, I could feel the dedication, time and effort every single person put in.