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Moot Court Team Goes to Battle in Orlando, Does Miami Law Proud

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From left, law students Yasin Daneshfar and Valerie Trueba; and Judges Scott D. Makar, Joseph Lewis Jr. and Stephanie W. Ray, all of Florida's First District Court of Appeal.

From left, law students Yasin Daneshfar and Valerie Trueba; and Judges Scott D. Makar, Joseph Lewis Jr. and Stephanie W. Ray, all of Florida's First District Court of Appeal. (Photo: Miami Law) Full-Size Photo

A Miami Law Moot Court team represented the law school last month with great success. Oralists Yasin Daneshfar and Valerie Trueba, both in their third year as law students, competed in the Zehmer National Workers' Compensation Moot Court Competition in Orlando.

"I had the distinct pleasure of coaching these extremely talented students over the past few months, and their hard work paid off during the competition," said Eric S. Olson, who graduated from Miami Law in May and was recently named program manager for the school's HOPE Public Interest Resource Center.

Miami Law's team got as far as the semifinal round, but were outmatched by the competition's eventual winner, a team from Florida Coastal School of Law. A brief written by Jonathan Lamet, 3L, and edited by the Miami Law team won a runner-up award for Best Brief.

"Hopefully this will fuel the fires for other successes this year," Olson said. "As coach, I was fortunate to have such a talented and dedicated team. I made them practice every night for the entire week before the competition, so they were probably sick of my questions at the end. The idea of holding such intense practice rounds is to prepare our moot court teams for any type of question they may encounter during the actual competition."

The benefit of competing in moot court competitions, Olson went on, is that students become very knowledgeable about a specific area of law and can effectively argue both sides of a case in front of practicing attorneys and judges, which sometimes leads to job offers. "You may think: workers' compensation – who cares?" Olson said. "But our case dealt with an accidental death, an ambiguous statute, precarious evidentiary rulings, and recently decided case law – not necessarily a sleek new red Ferrari, but sexy enough for an aspiring lawyer."

For Trueba, it was the first time she had competed on behalf of the Charles C. Papy Jr. Moot Court Board. "It was an amazing experience that culminated the skills taught to me as a law student – professionalism, writing, and oral advocacy," she said. "You don't really ever expect to 'fall in love' with your argument – especially not a matter in workers' compensation – but I know I did, and I knew the judges could feel the passion Yasin and I had for this argument."