Alexa Turczynski, Contributing Writer
Freshman politics major Chris Fiore took Top Speaker at the recent Moot Court Invitational Tournament held at the Texas Wesleyan School of Law. He is not only the first freshman, but also the first University of Dallas student to take the award.
“To the best of my knowledge, no UD student has ever won Top Speaker at a tournament, so for Chris to do so as a freshman, in only his second tournament ever, is really quite an accomplishment,” said Moot Court coach and associate politics professor Dr. Richard Dougherty. “He should rightly be quite proud of his award.”
“I was honored and surprised at winning the award,” Fiore said. “Even though I prepared for the tournament the outcome was definitely unexpected.”
Fiore first learned of Moot Court from Dr. Jonathan Culp, his faculty advisor.
“The competition drew me in because of my interest in debate and my future plans,” Fiore said.
Fiore hopes to become an attorney, and found in Moot Court a way to prepare for a career in litigation. While the recent tournament was only his second at UD, he participated in Congressional debate for three years during high school. was only his second at UD, he participated in Congressional debate for three years during high school.
Fiore explained that the recent debate centered on the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Fiore took Top Speaker over participants from Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Dallas, as well as other Texas universities. Each debate involves a mock case in which students must appeal using oral argument. Each of the cases imitates real Supreme Court precedents.
“Students are judged primarily on their knowledge of the case record, their style of presentation and their courtroom demeanor,” said Dougherty.
He explained that Moot Court has been at UD for about 15 years and was initiated by students through the Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association. It now operates under the UD pre-law program.
“The Moot Court team over the years has been quite successful,” Dougherty said. “Chris’s effort allows others to see that this is a possibility for them, and that in itself is quite a boost to the program.”