Nora Baker ’22 and Lisa Hladik ’22 never expected to make Moot Court history.
When they won the Karen C. McGovern Senior Prize Trial Competition this fall they became only the second team in recent memory and the first all-women team to win both the Senior Prize Trials as 3Ls and the Domenick L. Gabrielli Appellate Advocacy Competition as 2Ls.
The duo met virtually in 2021 while interning for Hon. Christine M. Clark ’96. She participated in the Gabrielli Appellate Advocacy Competition as a student and encouraged them to participate too.
“I came to law school with a fear of public speaking so my immediate thought was, ‘I will never, ever do this,’” Hladik said.
To initially get acclimated to the Anthony V. Cardona ’70 Moot Court Program overall, she participated as a client as a first-year student. In these curated roles, students can practice public speaking and client counseling skills without the pressure of competition.
“When Gabrielli came around, I was ready to pass on it,” Hladik said. “Then Nora texted me and I thought, you know what? It’s time to swallow my fear and give it a try.”
“We already worked together. I thought, let's just try it and it just ended up working out and being such a good match,” Baker said. “Lisa and I have very different personalities. When it comes to handling things like this we really complement each other.”
Hladik, whose background is in engineering, completed much of the case analysis.
“I was very much a social engineer, which is not the nature of the field, ,” she said. “Through Moot Court, I realized I like trials and courtroom work. I don’t want to abandon my interest in science, so I’m going into patent litigation. It’s great that I was able to find a niche where I could meld both.”
Baker, who became interested in immigration and family law after an undergraduate study abroad program in Argentina, covered the human elements of lawyering.
“I’ve really grown to love family law because I can incorporate working with children and sometimes immigration law. I’m hoping that one day in the future, I can bring those things together to do special immigrant juvenile status. Moot Court started to change my perspective. After Senior Prize Trials I knew that I really wanted to be in court and do trials. Family law is a great area of law for that.”
Combining those strengths helped them in competitions, but so was their agreement on being extremely prepared.
“People would say, ‘you guys kind of work together, like a well-oiled machine.’ I think just made us a very, very cohesive team,” Hladik said.
“I was just about to say that,” Baker said.
Though the decision to join was spontaneous, it was a good one.
“Now, I always encourage people to just take that leap with Moot Court because you have no idea how it's going to work out,” Baker said. “It still feels like surreal. It’s a huge confidence boost when you are nervous for other things.”
“The public speaking element did show me that I could do it. Then I actually really liked doing it, so much that it redirected the way that I think my career would go,” Hladik said. “I also think the confidence boost that comes with having this trial experience is extremely valuable. It was, by far, my favorite thing I did in law school.”