NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has the best Moot Court Team in the state.
The TSU team earned the title of state champions recently after coming out on top in the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislative Appellate Moot Court Collegiate Challenge, or AMC3. They beat out seven other teams in the March 19-20 competition, which was held remotely due to the pandemic.
At the start of the competition, participating teams were given 16 case authorities totaling over 250 pages to read and prepare briefs for their arguments. Unlike previous years when all teams had the opportunity to compete in oral arguments, only the teams whose briefs were judged and scored in the top eight by actual practicing lawyers were selected to compete. The TSU team’s brief was in the top eight.
Alexis Bryant, a senior criminal justice major; and Collin Michael Ruth, senior political science major, were among the five-member TSU team that brought home the championship. They credit hard work, team preparation and knowledge of their professor and team coach (Dr. Corey M. Barwick) for their success.
“It was hard. The judges were hard,” said Bryant, of Portland, Oregon, who wants to become a constitutional or criminal lawyer. “My first judge asked me four questions right off the bat. But thank God, we were prepared. It was challenging but fun. The teamwork was great. I would not have been able to do it without my team, our coach and professor.”
For Ruth, 30, a non-traditional student and a Marine Corps staff sergeant, who wants to become a military lawyer, the virtual presentation made the interaction more challenging.
“The fact that it was on Zoom, was very challenging and nerve-racking, because it is kind of hard to read people if it’s on video and not in person,” said Ruth, the father of two, who is entering his 11th year in the military.
“Overall, we stood out because we had extremely unique arguments, having seen some of the other teams and strategies they came up with,” he said. “A lot of their arguments were similar, whereas ours were not, and that is definitely what set us apart from the generic arguments they had. But the credit goes to our coach. When it comes to studying law and case precedence, and to be able to prepare us to the level that he did, says a lot about his understanding of the law and how to read cases.”
The TSU team also included Senia M. Hernandez-Mapson, senior urban studies and political science major; Aubrey E. Sales, junior political science major; and Maryam F. Yousuf, senior health sciences major and political science minor.
In the competition, teams participated in four preliminary rounds of arguments, with four teams advancing to the seminal finals, including TSU, which scored enough points to advance to the final round.
For the championship, TSU faced off against last year’s champion, University of Tennessee Knoxville. Not only did the TSU team win the state championship, they won the awards for best oral argument, and the best brief with perfect scores.
Dr. Corey M. Barwick, team coach and assistant professor of political science, said in a semester full of obstacles, where it would have been easy to “give up, check out, or slack off,” the TSU students rose to the challenge and not only performed well, but brought home a championship.
“I cannot emphasize enough how much work went into securing this victory,” said Barwick, who is credited with building the current AMC3 team since his arrival at TSU in 2016. The team competed for the first time in fall 2017 and has been steadily improving since then.
“You cannot stand toe-to-toe against teams from Carson-Newman or UT Knoxville without countless hours of preparation,” he said. “Our students put in the work, and it was all worth it. I am so proud of our team, our students, and our university.”
To learn more about the TSU Department of Political Science, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/history/polisci.aspx
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About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees. TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee. With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.