Third-year students Reagan Marble (pictured, left), Ashirvad Parikh (pictured, center) and Suzanne Taylor (pictured, right) bested 27 teams to place first in the April 4 -6 national finals. Additionally, Marble won second-best oralist overall, Taylor won third-best oralist overall and Parikh’s brief ranked fourth overall.
“I feel like I learned so much,” Taylor says.
The teams had to draft a brief and then prepare to argue both sides of an issue involving unreasonable seizure, she says. After turning in the brief, the team got together four times a week for two hours each meeting.
“Our typical practice, we would start out forming arguments, continuing and modifying arguments during the entire time, as we realized the most important things, what works, what doesn’t work and how to argue,” she says.
The team’s coaches were Robert Sherwin, director of the law school’s advocacy programs, and Elizabeth Hill, an associate with Craig, Terrill, Hale & Grantham in Lubbock.
During the first day of preliminary rounds, the competitors argued for the petitioner, she says. After a two-hour break, they came back and argued the other side.
Taylor says the experience gave her confidence about her ability to do research and prepare an oral argument.
“Something that this competition provides that you don’t always get in law school is a practical application of the skills learned in everyday class — legal reasoning, writing style and writing briefs, all culminating in an appeals setting,” Marble says. “It’s the best practical training received in law school.”
Marble and Taylor were the oral advocates on the team, and Parikh was the brief writer. The trio worked together on researching and drafting parts of the brief, but, “It was ultimately his [Parikh’s] decision on how we attacked the problem and the arguments we made,” Marble says.
The brief counts for 33 percent of the score, so the team couldn’t win without a good brief, he says.
Parikh says it was a thrill to be on the team with Marble and Taylor.
“We put ourselves in a room for hours and would go through every line of the brief, read it out loud, check punctuation and check citations,” Parikh says. “It was definitely challenging and rigorous.”
— Jeanne Graham