Moot Court president prepares for law school

portrait of Madison Steinmann, wearing graduation regalia
photos courtesy of Steinmann (above)

Madison Steinmann first seriously considered a career in law when she was in high school. “My parents mentioned it,” Steinmann said. “They said, ‘You’re so analytical. Have you thought about [being a lawyer]?’ So I gave it some thought, started doing mock trial [as a sophomore], and it really came very naturally to me.”

“They have mock trial at the high school level, and at the college level they have moot court,” she explained. “[In mock trial], [students] act like prosecutors and defense attorneys. [There’s] questioning of witnesses. You have your witnesses versus your attorneys. It’s basically a fake trial that you would do in the real world.”

“Moot court is a bit different. There isn’t any trial. You don’t have any of the witnesses. You stand up and argue a specific side for ten minutes. We could be the respondent or the petitioner, and [we] formulate our own arguments based off of a fake case that we get. And we use case precedent to back that up…and then we have judges who ask us questions about our arguments.”

Steinmann joined Fresno State’s Moot Court Club in Spring 2022, shortly after transferring from Fresno City College, where she studied in the school’s Pathway to Law School program.

A political science major, Steinmann is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, a national political science honor society. She also recently interned with the District Attorney’s office. 

“A lot of the interns were either already in law school or had a parent that had been a lawyer at the office…so I was really nervous at first. But everybody in the office was super nice and it was a really interesting experience.”

Assigned to the felonies department for her internship, Steinmann primarily wrote various reports and also transcribed police body camera footage and watched hearings and trials. 

“A lot of that stuff is super interesting. It was a great experience for me, [solidifying] me wanting to become an attorney. Because I liked it there. I felt like that environment was [great] for me.”

portrait of Steinmann with medals and certificates from a Mock Trial competition

In addition to focusing on her own studies, Steinmann serves the campus community as a tutor at the Learning Center. One of the most effective and highly valued academic support resources on campus, the Learning Center promotes student success by improving content understanding and course grades through: Academic Success Coaching (ASC), Supplemental Instruction (SI) and Tutoring. 

Tutoring is a subject-based academic support service between a student who sets the goals and a peer tutor who applies appropriate strategies for effective learning. Data analysis has revealed regular tutoring sessions decrease or close equity and achievement gaps by gender, underrepresented minority status, first-generation status and Pell Grant eligibility. This semester, the tutoring program is offering support for nearly 550 course sections—the largest support offering in the history of the program. 

More recently, the tutoring program received certification as a Level 1 and Level 2 certified tutor training program by the internationally recognized College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA). Achieving certification means that the Learning Center has met CRLA’s high standards for tutor selection, training, direct service, and evaluation as an integral part of its overall tutoring program.

As a second-level tutor, Steinmann hosts tutoring sessions for multiple subjects within social studies, including political science, history, sociology, criminology, and psychology. She also mentors first-level and newly-appointed second-level tutors, observing their tutoring sessions and providing feedback to help them improve. With her experience at the Learning Center, Steinmann said that she would consider being a law professor later in her career. 

As she enters her final semester at Fresno State, Steinmann has applied to 20 different law schools and is awaiting their responses. She hopes to attend law school on the East Coast, and is open to eventually moving back to California. 

“Originally, I was interested in criminal law, but I’ve kind of shifted a bit. Now, I’m super interested in intellectual property, which has to do with patents and copyright. I’m also interested in corporate law, and, when I get to law school, want to feel that out.” 


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