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My name is Hala Furst, and I am a 3L. Before coming to Roger Williams I received a BA in Theatre Arts at the University of Minnesota. In the three years between graduating from college and arriving here in Bristol, RI, I worked as a hotel concierge for a luxury brand, a loan officer and mortgage...

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The Experience of a Lifetime

Posted by Hala Furst on 11/03/2008 at 12:00 AM

Last Thursday I had the amazing opportunity to present oral argument in front of the Rhode Island Supreme Court. A fellow classmate and I had made it to the final round of the Esther Clark Moot Court Competition, presided over by the five top legal minds in Rhode Island. Needless to say I was nervous. I’ve performed in theatrical productions all across the country, asked a question of the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, sung the National Anthem, but nothing was as nerve-wracking as this experience. People kept telling me, “oh, but you’re used to being in front of a crowd.” Sure I am. The difference is that the audience watching Two Gentlemen of Verona doesn’t also know the lines. When you get a line wrong, no one is waiting to force you to explain why you said what you did, then back it up with precedent. The Supreme Court of Rhode Island knows infinitely more than I about pretty much everything, and for fifteen minutes I had to stand up and a podium and prove I knew what the heck I was talking about.

It ended up being a lot of fun, actually. The justices were very kind, and even funny, which helped to put both me and my opponent at ease. They asked tough questions, but ones that we were prepared for, after going through the several rounds of the competition and being mooted by other Moot Court Board members. When I sat back and thought about it, we had received the problem at the end of July, so I had been working on this brief and this argument for over 3 months by the time I was in front of the Supremes. We were prepared, and once I realized that, I was able to relax and really take in the honor of getting to be heard by the Supreme Court of the state. That is not something everyone can say. Many lawyers go their whole careers never arguing a Supreme Court case, and while I know the problem was fake, the questions were real, the experience was real, and my gratitude was real. Thank you to the Moot Court Board, the RWU Faculty and Staff, and most of all, the Supreme Court of Rhode Island, for being such good sports.