Milligan College duo reaches semi-finals in moot court competition

Preparing for a career takes years of study and serious contemplation, but unlike applications on a smartphone or other electronic devices, there is not often a chance for a “free trial” for a chosen career path. With a moot court competition, Milligan College hopes to offer students that chance.

This marks the third year Milligan College has participated in Appellate Moot Court Collegiate Challenge (called AMC3).

Associate professor of political science Amy Edmonds said the competition is part of the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL).

“Milligan provided the political science department with the funds to start participating in AMC3 in 2016,” Edmonds said.

One of the court teams reached the semi-finals of the competition, a feat she said taught the students the value of their work and gave them a taste of a real-world setting.

Jonathan Russell, a Milligan student who participated on the team, said his teamwork with his partner was key to their success.

“Samuel [Wentworth] and I have been in classes together all four years at Milligan, and we have great teamwork which helped us compete with more experienced teams,” Russell said.

Wentworth said the competition was a confidence boost that said their career choice was the right one.

“Doing well in the competition settled many doubts,” Wentworth said. “ It showed us that pursuing law school after graduation will is something that we can do, and even do well.”

Edmons said the contestants received the write-ups on the positions they were supposed to argue months in advance.

Russell said this was his and his friend’s first time arguing outside of classroom conversations and debate exercises.

“This was a unique opportunity to argue inside the State Capital and a challenging experience which helped affirm my desire to pursue law school,” he said.

Russell said the competition itself took months of preparation and many revisions to their plan of attack.

“Each time we argued we made adjustments to our main argument and to our rebuttal, and this gave us the edge to progress to the semi-final,” he said.

As a professor, Edmonds said watching her students compete reaffirms her decision to become a teacher.

“Every time I watch a student rise to a new challenge and succeed it reminds me that education is not only about providing particular knowledge but is about changing lives through meaningful experiences,” Edmonds said. “Students come away from these sorts of experience with a much deeper understanding of how they can apply their knowledge and use the legal and political processes to change their communities in constructive and meaningful ways.”

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