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2018 AMTA Board Meeting Agenda

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  • #31
    Is there a unique process for determining which judges are selected for 4th round pairings of Nats in rounds that can potentially determine the finals match up? For example we’re judges for the Irvine v Yale round chosen with a specific consideration in mind (experienced Mock judges, federal judges...) or are judges randomly assigned in 4th round match up, regardless of implications?

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    • #32
      According to the rule book, the way it works is that they rank the judges based on experience etc. and divide them into different tiers. Then they assign all rounds one judge starting by giving the best judge to the top round and so on. Then they start assigning a second judge for each trial (starting with the top trial) and so on. Then they do a third judge for each trial. So presumably the top trial would hav the best judges. This is the same way its supposed to work in round 2 and 3 or all AMTA tournaments, and the rule book explicitly says its what is supposed to happen in NCT round 4.

      That said, when it comes to judge pairings what is officially supposed to happen is not always what happens in practice because of things like judges requesting to be paired together and judges requesting not to preside and things like that. So exceptions have to be made in any case. I don't know if AMTA makes exceptions for the top round of Nationals.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by bengarmoe View Post
        Just FYI, Adevans and I are talking to Will Warihay for this week's episode, as a board meeting preview and wider discussion on the future of AMTA. Let us know if you've got suggestions for discussion topics.
        For R-01, regarding AMTA Rule 8.14, the ‘rationale’ described in the proposed change as to why benchbooks became prohibited in the first place is due to an “arms race” for teams to produce increasingly sophisticated notebooks (leather-bound, etc), which obviously would be unfair to programs that struggle for funding. If that was truly the only reason, why were benchbooks outright banned for all this time, instead of just implementing the kinds of benchbook guidelines proposed now in the new amendment? Also, as a team that introduced benchbooks this year - containing only the pretrial documents within them (drawing objections at captains meetings at both regionals and orcs) - our understanding was that the type of “bench notebooks” or “bench binders” that were prohibited were ones with analysis and arguments/applications of the law peppered within them. Sort of like how real attorneys do in order to help judges understand their side before a real
        trial. By using this logic we successfully argued that our simplistic benchbooks should be allowed for trial. To which the tournament directors at both competitions agreed.

        Ben, could you guys ask if this sort of additional analysis was a part of the “benchbook” problem? And if not, maybe try to find out what other reasons there might have been to warrant an outright ban on benchbooks.

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by bdopl View Post

          For R-01, regarding AMTA Rule 8.14, the ‘rationale’ described in the proposed change as to why benchbooks became prohibited in the first place is due to an “arms race” for teams to produce increasingly sophisticated notebooks (leather-bound, etc), which obviously would be unfair to programs that struggle for funding. If that was truly the only reason, why were benchbooks outright banned for all this time, instead of just implementing the kinds of benchbook guidelines proposed now in the new amendment? Also, as a team that introduced benchbooks this year - containing only the pretrial documents within them (drawing objections at captains meetings at both regionals and orcs) - our understanding was that the type of “bench notebooks” or “bench binders” that were prohibited were ones with analysis and arguments/applications of the law peppered within them. Sort of like how real attorneys do in order to help judges understand their side before a real
          trial. By using this logic we successfully argued that our simplistic benchbooks should be allowed for trial. To which the tournament directors at both competitions agreed.

          Ben, could you guys ask if this sort of additional analysis was a part of the “benchbook” problem? And if not, maybe try to find out what other reasons there might have been to warrant an outright ban on benchbooks.
          My understanding of the rule as it exists now is to prevent two things: the arms race described above, and providing the judge with a full copy of the case from beginning to end. My hunch - and we can certainly try to talk to Will or someone else to confirm/deny this - is that the rule was also meant at least in part to prevent teams from giving the judges an entire case packet, as opposed to what a lot of teams (including mine) do now in putting the pre-trial documents in a binder for easier access. It seems silly to me that teams object to presenting pre-trial documents in a binder as opposed to individual sleeves, but some do. The only thing we object to under this rule is a full copy of the case. We'll see what we can find out. This new rule seems to make a ton of sense to me.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by OffOnCross View Post

            AMTA rejected the motion to which you are referring immediately after a single member proposed it””. The rejection may well have been unanimous. I’m perplexed how that turned into ““AMTA supporting the motion and therefore being out of touch.””
            It was, in fact, unanimously defeated in committee.

            Remember, all it takes to get a motion before a committee is one board member who writes it up and emails it to the secretary before the deadline. And often times board members submit motions on behalf of non-board members who feel strongly about a particular issue. So the mere presence of a motion (especially a tabled one) should never be interpreted as "AMTA wants to [do this thing.]" A motion simply means that "board member A wants to [do this thing]" or maybe even "coach of team X wants to [do this thing] and board member A is simply the conduit to get that discussed."
            I post in my personal capacity, not on behalf of AMTA.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by bdopl View Post

              For R-01, regarding AMTA Rule 8.14, the ‘rationale’ described in the proposed change as to why benchbooks became prohibited in the first place is due to an “arms race” for teams to produce increasingly sophisticated notebooks (leather-bound, etc), which obviously would be unfair to programs that struggle for funding. If that was truly the only reason, why were benchbooks outright banned for all this time, instead of just implementing the kinds of benchbook guidelines proposed now in the new amendment? Also, as a team that introduced benchbooks this year - containing only the pretrial documents within them (drawing objections at captains meetings at both regionals and orcs) - our understanding was that the type of “bench notebooks” or “bench binders” that were prohibited were ones with analysis and arguments/applications of the law peppered within them. Sort of like how real attorneys do in order to help judges understand their side before a real
              trial. By using this logic we successfully argued that our simplistic benchbooks should be allowed for trial. To which the tournament directors at both competitions agreed.

              Ben, could you guys ask if this sort of additional analysis was a part of the “benchbook” problem? And if not, maybe try to find out what other reasons there might have been to warrant an outright ban on benchbooks.
              The ban on benchbooks is OLD. As in, it existed when I was a competitor back in 99-03. As I understand it from those who were on the board back then, it was more because teams were trying to one up one another with how "fancy" their binder was as opposed to what the contents were. As to why we haven't fixed it sooner...I just don't think it was a big enough concern to get on anyone's radar screen.


              I post in my personal capacity, not on behalf of AMTA.

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by TheGhostofChaseMichael View Post
                According to the rule book, the way it works is that they rank the judges based on experience etc. and divide them into different tiers. Then they assign all rounds one judge starting by giving the best judge to the top round and so on. Then they start assigning a second judge for each trial (starting with the top trial) and so on. Then they do a third judge for each trial. So presumably the top trial would hav the best judges. This is the same way its supposed to work in round 2 and 3 or all AMTA tournaments, and the rule book explicitly says its what is supposed to happen in NCT round 4.

                That said, when it comes to judge pairings what is officially supposed to happen is not always what happens in practice because of things like judges requesting to be paired together and judges requesting not to preside and things like that. So exceptions have to be made in any case. I don't know if AMTA makes exceptions for the top round of Nationals.
                This is accurate. It's really not any different from how we approach round 4 at regionals or round 4 at ORCS. We know what the meaningful rounds are, and those are the ones that get actual sitting judges and the best attorneys (to the extent we know who the "best" are.) We would not assign a tier 2 (non-litigation attorney) or tier 3 (law student or non-lawyer former mocker) to a top round just because they signed up to judge with a tier 1. Either they would get split up, with the lower tier judge going to a lower round, or they would stay together but in a lower round.

                I will say that we treat all of the rounds where one of the teams could potentially reach round 5 as equally "top rounds," so those are kind of viewed as a unit, as opposed to there being a huge difference in how we treat the actual top round vs the second-from-top and third-from-top round.

                I wouldn't call the process "random." There is a certain element of randomness as between similar judges. In other words, whether a particular top judge goes into the top round vs the second-from-top round might be "luck of the draw." Beyond the tiers, I and many other reps, try (especially in 3 judge panels) to make sure we don't have one trial with all male judges and another trial with all female judges. We also try to avoid (especially in criminal cases) one trial with all prosecutors and another trial with all defense attorneys. So whenever possible there is more fine-tuning that we try to do beyond just the tier categories.
                I post in my personal capacity, not on behalf of AMTA.

                Comment


                • #38
                  MizzouMock I notice that there were actually two motions to stop teams from bothering judges to change scores or fix them after a round (Rules-07 as well as a tabled motion by Racheter that does essentially the same thing). Do you know whether two people just happened to have the same idea at the same time or whether there was some sort of increase in problems with teams bothering judges this year?

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by The_Quibbler View Post
                    MizzouMock I notice that there were actually two motions to stop teams from bothering judges to change scores or fix them after a round (Rules-07 as well as a tabled motion by Racheter that does essentially the same thing). Do you know whether two people just happened to have the same idea at the same time or whether there was some sort of increase in problems with teams bothering judges this year?
                    Two board members submitted motions (I am 99% sure that neither person knew the other one was submitting something) based on one incident from this past year. A judge appeared to use the wrong scoring scale and a question arose of whether the Reps should/could approach the Judge over the lunch break and whether the team should/could approach the judge if the Reps did not. (The situation seemed to be a bit more complex than that, and I wasn't there in person so I don't want to mischaracterize anything, but that's my recollection of the very basic element to it)

                    At the end of the day, the judge *did* use the wrong scoring scale (1 to 4! With 1 being good and 4 being bad!) and the judge changed their ballot when informed of the proper scale.

                    I post in my personal capacity, not on behalf of AMTA.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      So now that the meeting is over, would somebody who was there like to update all of us on what happened?

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                      • #41
                        Some highlights that Adevans and I will surely discuss during an episode soon:

                        - EC-03 passed, after discussion over some proposals for how to implement the implicit bias training for Board members.
                        - EC-05 passed, increasing Nationals fees to $500 per team.
                        - EC-07 was amended to be $6 per team per trial, and then passed. This was intended to encourage more teams to consider hosting for AMTA as opposed to hosting invitationals, or to encourage teams to do both. This will be in effect for the coming season.
                        - Rules-01 passed, changing the benchbook rule.
                        - Rules-02 passed, which means evidentiary objections related to demonstratives are now permitted before opening statements and closing arguments.
                        - Rules-07 was amended after a lot of discussion and passed in a different form (I don't have the language but it'll be in the minutes) to prohibit students from pursuing judges out of the trial room to question them about their scores or award rankings, and/or convince them to change either of those things.
                        - Rules-08 passed - and the new judges powerpoint is gorgeous and awesome. Technically it hasn't been adopted for the AMTA season yet, the board wants feedback from the invitational season and will address this again at the mid-year call
                        - TAB-03 passed, establishing a required minimum of 16 ranks for a Regionals/ORCS award.
                        - TAB-04 part (1) passed, but part (2) was struck from the motion and did not pass, meaning that only the part (1) head-to-head tiebreaker modification will go into effect.
                        - TAC-03 passed, and the Board is aware that our current tournament structure needs continued evaluation for a number of reasons, including but not limited to the rapid growth of AMTA in recent years.

                        The Board also officially selected Chicago as the 2020 NCT site, hosted by Mike Walsh and Loyola-Chicago. Next year's board meeting will be hosted again by Josh Leckrone, in Cincinnati.

                        I think that's pretty much the whole rundown; others who were there can correct me if I'm wrong.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          What about CRC-01 and EC-01 (the ones about inventions and sanctions)?

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by The_Quibbler View Post
                            What about CRC-01 and EC-01 (the ones about inventions and sanctions)?
                            CRC-1 passed with an amendment to refer the matter to CRC, Rules, and Ethics, and tasked those three committees to bring the Board language at the mid-year meeting as well as to solicit comment from AMTA members at large.

                            EC-01 passed, I believe with a slight amendment allowing the EC to set a deadline for the school to respond to the initial allegations.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by The_Quibbler View Post
                              What about CRC-01 and EC-01 (the ones about inventions and sanctions)?
                              Response taken out because Ben responded more accurately than I did (my brain being fried after three days of Vegas ).
                              Mock Trial with J. Reinhold! Mock Trial! Mock Trial with J. Reinhold!

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                              • #45
                                Was there any discussion regarding the potential new national tournament structure that would give us some indication of what the board is thinking about doing?

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