UNC AALSA 2L Students Place in Top Four Teams in National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Moot Court Competition

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Sharon Lin 2L
Yishi Yin 2L

At the Thomas Tang Moot Court Competition held in October in Atlanta, Sharon Lin 2L had to be nimble and think quickly to respond to judges’ questions.

“I learned different techniques to answering oral-argument questions that are way out of my comfort zone. I was thrown quite a few curve ball questions, and I had to talk my way out of them,” Lin says.

The questions weren’t the only curve balls that Lin and teammate Yishi Yin 2L encountered as the pair represented UNC’s Asian American Law Students Association (AALSA) at the competition, sponsored by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

The UNC team placed in the top four teams at the Southeast regional competition—without a coach, and without solid funding until about two weeks before the event.

Professor Alexa Chew

“UNC had never sent a team to the competition before, and yet this year’s AALSA members identified the competition, organized the team, arranged for funding and made it into the semifinals,” says clinical associate law professor Alexa Chew, the group’s faculty adviser.

The other four competing schools—for a total of seven teams—participated in the competition in previous years and were coached by faculty or alumni who had been involved as students.

Once funding was secured, Yin and Lin started preparing and coaching each other.

“Yishi and I worked nonstop for two weeks straight, first focusing on creating a brief and then on our oral arguments, especially an off-brief argument,” Lin says.

They were assisted by fellow AALSA board members Josephine Kim 2L and Hillary Li 2L. Kim helped organize and found funding while Li assisted with coaching, helping them hone their arguments the night before the semifinal round.

Lin benefited by being in a competitive environment.

“Being able to put my oral-argument skills to the test and seeing how they fared in comparison to other schools was the most valuable part of participating in the competition,” Lin says. “I loved hearing other teams’ oral arguments and seeing how I could learn from them.”

-November 4, 2015

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