BYU students try to outsmart law professors while raising money for family crisis center

Preston Crawley
Participants in the Stump the Professor fundraising event await the next question. (Preston Crawley)

Shouts echoed off the unfinished walls and hands slapped the sawdust covered tables of the J. Reuben Clark Law School’s moot courtroom at noon on Nov. 21. Construction on the courtroom had halted for an hour so law students with plates of pizza could watch their professors compete against each other at the Women in Law’s Stump the Professor event.

According to Jessica Volmar, BYU law student and Women in Law member, the main purpose of the event was to raise money for charity.

“The event is for the Center for Women and Children in Crisis and so all of the proceeds go to that event,” Volmar said. “We want to make sure that is clear that’s what we’re doing the event for. But the event itself is supposed to be just kind of fun.”

Alicia Conley, a second-year law school student and member of Women in Law, said the fun was the reason students look forward to the event.

“They get to see the real personalities of their professors come out and see a different side of them, and that’s really fun,” Conley said.

Three members of the competing group The Deans & the Dane & the Dealmaker laugh during Stump the Professor. (Preston Crawley)

Professors involved themselves in the competition as they hovered over the bell to try to be the first to ring and answer the questions. Many playful teases and jokes were tossed between the two competing teams – The Suffragists and The Deans & the Dane & the Dealmaker.

Michalyn Steele, a BYU law professor, was in charge of reading the questions to the contestants.

“Minecraft,” Steele said. “Turning to the world of Minecraft.”

The crowd roared with laughter.

“Which sword has greater durability: wooden or golden?” Steele asked. The crowd continued to laugh while the question was asked.

After only a few seconds, BYU law professor Paul Stancil rang the bell.

“Wood,” Stancil said. “The golden sword has the lowest durability but also accepts magical enchantments the best.”

After earning a point for his team, Stancil received loud, raucous applause from the students in attendance.

Members of The Suffragists team discuss the answer to a question. (Preston Crawley)

The questions weren’t only about video and computer games. The questions, created by students, varied from wrestling, the fall of Rome, music bands and of course, law.

After a tight neck-and-neck fight for the lead, The Deans & the Dane and the Dealmaker broke the tie on the final wagered question, winning the game 86-83.

Emilie Stiles, a BYU law student, said that because there were new professors who participated in the event, students had the opportunity to get to know them better. Stiles explained that the questions professors confidently answered hinted at their interests beyond law.

BYU law student Rebecca Martin also shared her thoughts about the event.

“It was so fun. I just really liked seeing our professors get really competitive and joke around,” Martin said. “I felt like it made them more relatable.”

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