Lindsay McLellan (left) and Raissa Musoni (right) before heading to the Moot Court competition.
Lindsay McLellan, BA’15, will begin law school this fall with a significant advantage over her first-year peers—court room experience in front of real judges.

St. Thomas offers the only undergraduate moot court program in Canada, and McLellan represented the university in two international competitions—one in Fitchburg, MA, and the other in Chicago, IL.

“Being involved in the program enabled me to stand out among a sea of worthy candidates during the competitive law school application process,” McLellan said. “The opportunity to have a hands-on learning experience where I was able to use my education in a practical way was something I couldn’t pass up.”

In Chicago, McLellan and her partner, Raissa Musoni, BA’15, crafted arguments based on U.S Supreme Court cases that dealt with two constitutional infringements—a woman’s 14th amendment right to an abortion and the first amendment right to free speech. 

As the only Canadian undergraduate university competing at the Collegiate Moot Court Invitational Tournament, the STU duo turned heads when they cracked the top 16.

“Our arguments were as good as, and sometimes better than, students from the United States even though we’re from Canada,” McLellan said. “The highlight of my trip was when a judge, after he found out this was only our second competition ever, told my partner and I that he sincerely believed we had the potential to be a top-level team.”

A Liberal Arts Advantage

McLellan credits much of their success to Human Rights Director and Professor Dr. Amanda Diapolo, who coaches the moot court team. She also sees her liberal arts background as an advantage.

“At STU students are taught to think creatively and originally in order to recognize and critique structures that produce problems that we, individually or as a society, face. This is exactly what’s expected of a moot court competitor,” she said.

“My liberal arts education also allowed me to communicate my argument effectively to the judges, so it was incomparably helpful in preparing for, and competing in, moot court.”

This is a rare experience for an undergraduate student and one that McLellan said is irreplaceable as she pursues a career as a lawyer.

“This experience has been invaluable in my career journey, helping me enhance my written and oral advocacy skills and solidifying my choice to attend law school,” she said.

“When competing, a moot court advocate must deliver his or her argument while fielding questions from lawyers, law professors, and judges, and this experience really instilled a sense of confidence within me.”

It’s a confidence that McLellan will take with her to the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, where she will further her passion for social justice—a passion she developed at STU.