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Thursday, Feb 22, 2018

Gould Students Take Second Place at the National Moot Court Finals in New York 


 
The passion, determination and commitment of Zoe Steinberg ‘18 and Rachel Yang ‘18 earned them a coveted spot in the final round of the National Moot Court Competition. Sponsored by the New York Bar Association, the competition is highly regarded and the second largest of its kind.
 
For USC Gould students, preparing for the competition was demanding, but valuable skill-building experience – the result of innumerable hours invested throughout their time in law school. 
USC Gould's dream team: Rachel Yang '18 and Zoe Steinberg '18
 
During their first year, Gould students develop their written and oral advocacy skills in their legal writing class. As 2Ls they compete to join the Hale Moot Court Honors Program, where they draft their own appellate briefs, and then engage in oral arguments before judges and practicing attorneys. As 3Ls, students can apply to run the Hale Program under the direction of Professor Rebecca Lonergan. Third-year students can also apply to be part of Gould’s national moot court team, like Steinberg and Yang. 
 
The final argument at the National Moot Court Competition was the culmination of more than six months of preparation and arguments. Steinberg and Yang felt that the support of the entire Gould community was critical to their success. “To prepare, Rachel and I held a number of practice rounds with Prof. Lonergan, Prof. Rebecca Brown, Prof. Elizabeth Carroll, and fellow 3Ls who also participate in moot court. During each round, the panel asked us questions and afterward gave us advice and feedback. Then we brainstormed on how to make our arguments more persuasive and clear. We were so lucky to have so much support from people willing to give up their own time to help us prepare,” said Steinberg.
 
Yang and Steinberg's hard work paid off.
Yang noted that Lonergan’s expert coaching helped put them a step above the competition. “Her experience as both a practitioner and a professor is unmatched. She knew exactly how to poke and prod us during our practice rounds to identify our weak spots and highlight our strengths. And when we got to the competition itself, she was a true mentor and coach to us. She knew what to say to help us shake off our nerves and get our heads in the zone to compete well. Obviously, I can only speak for myself, but I think it is probably safe to say that her confidence in us inspired us to be more confident in ourselves as well,” Yang said.  
 
The hard work paid off. Lonergan felt that Steinberg and Yang's confidence and skill was evident throughout their argument: “When they were competing, I saw two wonderfully poised, articulate, and intelligent young women who are ready to be outstanding practicing attorneys.”
 
The experiences students have in Gould’s Moot Court build a strong foundation of skills that prepare them for a professional career in the law. “Moot Court has been one of the best things I've done in law school, in terms of building my writing and advocacy skills, becoming more confident as a young lawyer-to-be, and making so many friends along the way. I know all of this will be key to my pursuit of a legal career,” Yang said.  
 
Interested in competing? Join our Moot Court Honors Program
 
Photos courtesy of the New York City Bar Association

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