A total of 500 teams from across the nation participated in the regional tournament in November 2021, with 100 of those teams advancing to the Jan. 21-23 oral argument national championship. A total of six UCSB students — three teams of two students — participated in the virtual competition, with one team advancing to the top four nationally.
“It’s a big hurdle just to make it to nationals, so it was really exciting for our program to get three teams there,” said UCSB Moot Court Co-President and fourth-year political science and art history major Elise Allari.
UCSB Moot Court officers Faiz Surani, co-president and third-year computing major, and Varun Iyer, outreach director and fourth-year physics and philosophy double major, submitted their written argument for the respondent brief writing competition in mid-December 2021. On Jan. 23, the American Moot Court Association (AMCA) announced their first-place win.
UCSB’s team is entirely student-run and has been quite successful since its founding in 2019, according to Surani.
“We started it basically the second I stepped foot on campus, and it’s been a lot of fun to really see it grow into quite a successful organization,” Surani said.
Finance Director and third-year political science major Caillian Sheehy said that although there is value to having professors lead moot court teams, UCSB’s team has benefited from being student-run.
“I think being student-run is one of our program’s biggest strengths. We’re almost like the underdogs. Having a group of people that are working alongside you motivates people to work together to move forward,” Sheehy said.
UCSB Moot Court is currently made up of 11 members, and most of the members who participated in the oral argument national championship were new to moot court.
“Other than one person, everyone [in the oral argument category] was a first-year competitor at moot court, so it’s huge that we got this far and everyone got this experience,” Allari said.
Despite the team being fairly new, this marks UCSB Moot Court’s second national championship win. Last year, Surani and Iyer won the petitioner brief writing competition.
Allari, a senior at UCSB, experienced her last national championship this weekend and said that witnessing her moot court team’s growth over the years has had a big impact on her college experience.
“I’m very proud of this team and what has happened over three years. We’ve had rapid growth in our level of skills. There’s a level of pride there,” Allari said.
A version of this article appeared on p. 6 of the Feb. 3, 2022, print edition of the Daily Nexus.