Duane Bonifer  |   Published November 10, 2016

No Argument: Moot Court a Success

Moot Court helps Monmouth student find a possible career
  • Moot Court finalists, from left: Nick Callaway ’18, Jaron Park ’18, Mackenzi Lafferty ’19 and Abrafi Osei-Kofi ’17. Judges, from left: Jonathan Coley, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology; Stephanie Hilton ’07, Knox (Ill.) County assistant state’s attorney; and David Timmerman, dean of the faculty.
Monmouth College student Jaron Park ’18 might have discovered a career because he was willing to take a chance.

Park entered the sixth-annual Moot Court Competition for the first time, and at Wednesday night’s final round he was named the competition’s Top Advocate.

This year’s case was was: “Can the federal government ‘fix’ an Establishment Clause violation for maintaining a Latin Cross on public lands by transferring a very small piece of a national preserve into a private party’s hands?”

Park was a respondent with classmate Abrafi Osei-Kofi ’17. They faced petitioners Nick Callaway ’18 and Mackenzi Lafferty ’19. The four students advanced from Saturday morning’s preliminary round, which included nine students.

Park, who is an English major with a political science minor, had been thinking about pursuing a master’s degree in English after he graduates from Monmouth. But after competing in Moot Court for the first time, the Springfield, Ill., resident said he is now considering a career as a constitutional lawyer.

“I’ve kind of had a passing interesting in constitutional law and constitutional issues for awhile,” he said. “I’ve thought about going into politics, and I really started considering law school as a potential option. This was a way for me to test the waters in law, particularly the kind of law I would want to practice.”

Wednesday night’s finals, which were held in Poling Hall’s Morgan Room, were judged by Stephanie Hilton ’07, Knox (Ill.) County assistant state’s attorney; Jonathan Coley, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology; and David Timmerman, dean of the faculty.

Saturdays preliminary round was judged by lawyers Brad ’89 and Debra Nahrstadt, Dan Cotter ’88 and Kate Cross ’08.

Park said that participating in Moot Court also taught him that arguing a legal case before judges is an unpredictable experience.

“You can have a judge that just lets you talk your head off for 10 minutes, or you could get a couple of sentences into your argument and then you are just bombarded with questions for the rest of the time,” he said. “It varies wildly.”
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