Every CSULB Student Wins an Award at the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s (ACMA) National Tournament

California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) sent three teams to the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s (ACMA) national tournament held at Chapman University on Friday, January 13th, and Saturday, January 14th. “This was likely our second best national tournament ever,” said Lewis Ringel, a CSULB political science lecturer who is in his sixth year as director of the campus’s moot court program. Although CSULB did not win the tournament, every CSULB student won an award. CSULB received recognition as the 10th, 15th, and 21st teams in the nation. As Ringel pointed out, “three of the top 21 teams in the nation are from CSULB.”

The teams qualified for the national tournament with outstanding performances at the 10th Annual Western Regional Moot Court Qualifying Tournament, hosted at CSULB in December. At the regional tournament, two CSULB teams earned automatic bids by advancing to the regional quarterfinals and Sweet 16 rounds, respectively. Two students earned top orator awards.

Seniors Peter Vasilion, a business marketing major, and Andrew Kemper, a political science major, earned their place in the quarterfinals with a 3-2 decision over Brigham Young University (Idaho). In the preliminary rounds at the regional, Vasilion and Kemper as well as Juniors Ryan Chapman and Yasmin Manners, both political science majors, won a combined 17 of the 18 ballots cast in their opening-night rounds.

Due to his commitment to study abroad, Kemper was unavailable to participate at nationals. Taylor Carr, a political science major, took his place.

The third CSULB team to compete at nationals was a hybrid consisting of Wyatt Lyles, a political science major, and Kari Rice, a student from Carroll College (Montana).

At nationals CSULB had five students compete in the oral advocacy portion of the competition and four teams, a record for CSULB, entered the written brief competition.

“This was the first time CSULB had multiple teams in the Sweet 16,” said Ringel.

Ruth Anderson, a senior political science major, and Robert Carr, a junior political science major, finished 7th in the national brief contest.

Manners and Chapman went 4-2 in the tournament, beating teams from Middle Tennessee State University, Baylor University, Arkansas State University, and the University of Texas at Dallas. The win against UT Dallas propelled Manners and Chapman into the Sweet 16 andwas considered a sizable upset. The UT Dallas team won a regional and was the 10th seeded team.

Lyles and Rice went 4-1 in the tournament, beating teams from Duke University, Wooster College, Loras University, and Denison University.

Carr and Vasilion went 2-2 in the tournament, with victories over teams from Wheaton College and Texas Christian University. Although they were eliminated by the eventual national runner-up from the College of New Jersey, they were CSULB’s top scorers in the tournament.

Moot Court is a simulation of an appellate court proceeding. Two-person legal teams argue a hypothetical legal case known as “the competition case” in front of judges who grade the students on the basis of their knowledge of the case, response to questioning, forensic skills, and demeanor. Students must  engage in thorough research of the cases and laws cited in “the competition case.” Teams from colleges and universities throughout the nation argue the same case. Oral argument lasts 40 minutes with each side getting 20 minutes. Each student is expected to speak for a minimum of seven minutes.

For additional information, Ringel can be reached by phone at 562.985.4708 or by e-mail at LSR67@verizon.net. Those interested can also visit the moot court website.

From L-R: Professor Judy Hails (Assistant Coach), Jillian Ewan (Assistant Coach), Professor Lewis Ringel (Coach), Ruth Anderson, The Honorable Judge James Otto, Ryan Chapman, Yasmin Manners, Taylor Carr, The Honorable Justice Paul Turner,Wyatt Lyles, Kari Rice, Peter Vasilion, The Honorable Judge Scott Steiner, and Patrick Dyson (Assistant Coach)

From L-R: Yasmin Manners and Ryan Chapman (Sweet 16)

Form L-R: Wyatt Lyles and Kari Rice (Sweet 16)

From L-R: Taylor Carr and Peter Vasilion (CSULB’s top scorers in the national tournament)

Photos by Tracy Boulian

Compiled and edited by Cortney Smethurst