New Moot Court Program coordinator to focus on recruiting alumni
For many students, the closest they will ever come to a courtroom is while in law school.
The Moot Court Program at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law gives students an opportunity to practice making decisions and apply what they have learned in the classroom in a setting that’s the next-best-thing to the real world, explained Elizabeth Sherowski ’96, who became the program’s new coordinator in July.
“The classroom side teaches you how to analyze the law,” Sherowski said, “but putting that into practice – how am I going to use these rules of evidence to get this bloody shirt admitted, even though it’s clearly prejudicial? – that’s the kind of stuff you don’t get to try out in a classroom.”
Sherowski worked for the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office during and after law school. In the juvenile division, she found fulfillment in working on felony-level cases or with children involved in instances of abuse, neglect, and dependency.
“I did a little bit of time in the adult division, and I didn’t like it as much. You were just recycling the defendants back through the system,” she said. “They would get out and steal another car. You would put them back in jail. They would get out and rob a UDF. You put them back in jail.
“At least with the juveniles, it seemed like some of them just really screwed up and were scared enough that you could actually help them. You could stop them from progressing to the point where I saw adult offenders. After you’ve been in and out of jail a few times, you really don’t have much to fall back on besides crime.”
Sherowski took off a couple of years to spend time raising her three children, who are now 14, 12, and 10. She then opened a private practice, working with children with disabilities in need of benefits and those who had special education needs at school. For the last 13 years, she also was an adjunct professor at Moritz and Capital University.
While she had searched for full-time teaching opportunities, no job description fit as perfectly as that for the Moot Court Program coordinator at Moritz.
“It’s funny that I came back to do that because I was on the trial and moot court teams as a law student. I was a coach for moot court teams after I graduated. I’ve judged competitions,” she said. “This gives me a chance to put all of that to use.”
New competitions have emerged with an emphasis on negotiations, transactional law, mediation, and client counseling, and Sherowski hopes to expand the Moritz program’s success in those areas. She plans to recruit alumni with experience in those fields to help prepare students in advance or sit in on competitions.
Sherowski said it’s a great way to give back for those who have little time. Most competitions are a commitment of one evening, and lawyers who assist are given a free dinner and the chance to inspire those who are ready to embark on their legal careers.
“Our alumni have so much experience they could share. No matter what situation we’re handling in moot court, I know we have 100 alumni who deal with that every day,” she said. “For one or two of them to come back and share, it is so helpful for students.”
To volunteer with the Moot Court Program, contact Sherowski at firstname.lastname@example.org.