For the fifth consecutive year, Millikin University students took top awards at the 34th Annual Model Illinois Government (MIG) Simulation held March 1-4 at the State Capital Complex in Springfield. Millikin University students won the Moot Court Competition and were recognized with individual awards.
The Model Illinois Government Simulation featured 300 students from over 20 Illinois colleges and universities. The Moot Court Competition featured 18 Millikin University student participants.
The Moot Court Competition features teams of attorneys engaging in a discussion before a panel of student justices and legal professionals. Students are scored on the basis of presentation and knowledge of the case. A total of 14 Millikin students participated as attorneys and four students participated as justices. Of the seven attorney teams from Millikin, five reached the quarterfinal round, three made the semifinal round, and one reached the final round. The team of senior Justin Ladendorf, a finance and management double major from Staunton, and freshman Joshua Rose, a finance major from Saint Jacob, took first place in the competition.
“The MIG Simulation provided me with valuable experience. This was my first year participating in the Moot Court competition, which I began preparing for at the start of the Spring semester as part of my Appellate Legal Reasoning course,” remarked Ladendorf. “Winning the competition was a great way to end my undergraduate career, and it’s an experience that I will carry forward as I move on to law school. I think the Moot Court competition is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in a career in the legal field, as well as those seeking to improve their presentation skills.”
“Before attending Millikin, Moot Court, let alone the Moot Court Competition at Model Illinois Government, was an unfamiliar concept,” remarked Rose. “Having held an interest in pursuing a career in the law, I hoped that through the Moot Court Competition, held in conjunction with Dr. Robert Money's Appellate Legal Reasoning course, I could gain an insight into the legal field. The competition, combined with the course, exceeded my expectations in that respect. The opportunity to engage in oral argument at the Illinois State Capitol is an honor I believe few lawyers will receive. To have the experience as a freshman is unbelievable.”
Adding to Millikin’s success, senior Caitlin Harriman, a political science and English writing double major from Evergreen, Colo., was named Outstanding Moot Court Attorney. Junior Kevin Stocks, a finance major from Bloomington, was recognized as runner-up for Most Outstanding Moot Court Attorney.
“I am extremely proud of our students. Their preparation leading up to the competition and their teamwork and performance during the competition was outstanding,” said Robert Money, assistant professor of philosophy at Millikin University. “This simulation is a paradigmatic example of Millikin’s commitment to a pedagogy that blends theory and practice. The total process engages students in critical and ethical reasoning, oral communication, analytical reasoning, and teamwork. It is one of the best academic exercises I have ever utilized to facilitate student learning.”
“I believe our sustained success is primarily a function of two things. First, the students I have been able to attract to the program and who end up participating in the competition are high quality students. Most importantly, they have the ability to read and to think critically,” remarked Money. “Second, my decision to create a formal class structure that mirrors the moot court simulation experience on campus has really strengthened our program. The course I created is called Appellate Legal Reasoning and I teach it every spring. Most of our practices are incorporated into this course. Thus, students are provided with ample opportunity to work on case analysis and argument construction. We arrived at the competition with talented and well prepared students.”
Other Millikin students who participated in the competition include Kolton Ray, a sophomore from Decatur majoring in philosophy; Rob Spurling, a sophomore from Taylorville majoring in philosophy; Miles Grimes, a junior from Sycamore majoring in psychology; Jacqueline Hollis, a junior from Decatur majoring in English writing; Emma Prendergast, a junior from New Lenox majoring in philosophy; and Julia Hesse, a junior from Tinley Park majoring in history and philosophy.
For more information on Model Illinois Government, visit www.modelillinoisgovernment.org