Suffolk’s Moot Court team is off to a great start in its first year, earning a spot in the National Moot Court Tournament.

Suffolk advanced with a top-eight finish at the New England regional tournament at Fitchburg State University in November, where they competed against Bentley University, Williams College, the University of Connecticut, and 15 other colleges and universities. Hosted by the American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA), the New England event is the largest regional tournament in the country.

Moot Court simulates oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court, with local judges, lawyers, and law students serving as tournament judges. Students compose written and oral arguments based on hypothetical constitutional questions; this year’s hypothetical case addressed the 1st and 14th Amendments.

Suffolk’s team is comprised of ten students in Shane Martin’s Moot Court class, many of whom plan to pursue careers in the legal field. Working in two-person teams, students compose written briefs, develop knowledge of case law, learn how to effectively respond to questioning, and develop forensic skills and courtroom demeanor.

Tiffany Alves ’16 said the class has given her a first-hand perspective on a legal career. “I’ve learned a lot about myself, this type of work, and my capabilities. The class has given me valuable skills that will prepare me for my future career.” Alves was the top-rated Suffolk orator at the event, finishing 15th of the 124 competitors.

Benjamin Chertok ’15 and Michael Williams ’15 advanced to the quarterfinals at the regional tournament and will represent the Suffolk Moot Court team at the national competition.

Chertok loves being on the team. “I’m thrilled to represent our university with the Moot Court team. The demanding but rewarding field of appellate litigation provided both academic and personal growth."

Martin, who graduated from Suffolk’s master’s program in political science in 2004, founded the undergraduate moot court program at Suffolk this year. “I have been involved with moot court and ACMA for the past nine years and could not wait to start this program at Suffolk,” he said. “Suffolk students are motivated, intelligent, and hardworking, so I knew they would be able to compete and do well,” he said. Two students from Suffolk Law School, Matthew Costello and Elizabeth Murray, serve as assistant coaches alongside Martin.

The Suffolk team is one of only 80 teams nationwide that qualified for the national tournament, from a pool of over 400 teams. The National Moot Court Tournament will take place on Jan. 16-17, 2015 at Florida International University College of Law in Miami.

More information may be found on the American Collegiate Moot Court Association website or by emailing Shane Martin.