By Steve Nye
More than 150 law students stood with attorneys and clerks when Utah Supreme Court Justices entered the Moot Court Room for Wednesday?s hearings in the J. Reuben Clark Law School.
Although students generally use the Moot Court Room for mock trials, the annual visit of the state?s highest court provides law students with an opportunity to see the law in action.
For one law student in attendance, watching the Utah Supreme Court in action was more than just an education.
?For law students it?s like watching professional sports,? said Tasi Young, a third-year law student. ?We feel like we could actually be in front of the Supreme Court someday.?
In turn, the Utah Supreme Court Justices appreciated the energy observing students brought to the proceedings.
?It?s very energizing for us to be around young law students because they?re so excited about the law they are studying,? said Justice Matthew Durrant, a Utah Supreme Court Justice since 2000. ? To actually see some skilled advocates stand up before a court, make their arguments and see how law actually works in practice is a useful exercise for students.?
Proceedings began when Kevin Worthen, dean of the law school, welcomed the Utah Supreme Court to BYU.
Attorneys presented oral arguments for two cases, and students watched silently as the five justices questioned the attorneys on several issues regarding each case.
?I was really impressed with the justices? questions,? said Emily Egbert, a first-year law student. She also said she was surprised by the jokes and sarcastic comments the justices made.
?Sometimes we ask questions to clarify, and sometimes we ask questions to entertain ourselves,? said Associate Chief Justice Michael Wilkins.
Now that they have heard arguments for both cases, the five justices will meet together and discuss the information presented in court. After reaching a consensus, an assigned justice will compile the courts? decision in writing. The decision will be made public at a later date.
?I think it is very inspiring to watch the court in action,? Young said. ?It?s a pretty awesome experience to see how law works.?