Young Lawyers

2019 — Salt Lake City, UT/US

Devon Cantwell Paradigm

** Updated for 2019-2020 Topic**


Evidence: Apparently I need to put this on here now, but evidence standards will always be an a priori issue to evaluation for me. If there is a procedural argument that is brought up on the standards for evidence (example: distortion, not being able to access source for evidence, clipped evidence, or non-existent evidence). I will default to NSDA evidence standards, regardless of it is an NSDA tournament. I will be open to other evidence standards, but you need to present that alt standard for evidence evaluation. I will also only evaluate evidence that has been brought up on an ethics violation. Once an evidence ethics argument has been made, I will stop the round and vote immediately on that issue before anything else in the round proceeds. I see evidence as a core ethics argument that impacts the ability to go through anything else in the round and impacts my ability to trust any evidence that has been read by a team with an ethics evidence.

General Background: I’ve been in the world of policy debate for about 15 years, ranging from participation to coaching. Way back in the day, I debated at both Topeka High and Washburn Rural HS. I also debated in the regional circuit for University of Kansas for a few years and coached in Kansas, Alabama, and Mississippi. I have a deep love for the activity. I am currently working on a Ph.D. in Political Science and study immigration surveillance as part of my research.

Topicality/Procedural Issues: I vote on these. While I default to competing interpretations, it's important that you are answering all levels of the argument-- including the impact level of the debate. If you are negative and hope to win the round on T, you need to make sure you have a complete argument out of the gate to vote on. I should see a definition, interp, link, and impact level to your argument and I should see the aff responding to these. Cross apply this to any procedural argument as well (such as ASPEC, condo bad, etc.)

Disads- There needs to be a terminal impact (or at least solid analysis as to why that impact outweighs aff impacts in the round), a risk/okay probability of the disad happening (otherwise, why does your UQ matter?), and a plausible link to the aff. Generic DAs are fine, but there needs to be a plausible link, even if just at an analytical level.

Counterplans-- I tend to be alright with CPs and lean negative. I think most are generally smart. However, that being said, the CP needs to be both rhetorically and functionally competitive. I think Affs can/should be held accountable for clarifications made on positions and that those links apply across both CP and DA grounds.

Kritiks-- I'm fine with these, however, keep in mind that I am studying political theory in a Ph.D. program, so if your whole knowledge of your K is from a long series of back files on the K or from reading a few paragraphs of Nietzsche, this might end badly for you. I tend to prefer Ks with wider reach (capitalism, feminism, racism, etc) and less so Ks of particular authors, mostly because they are generally done poorly. If you run a K, it is EXTREMELY important that you provide a clear narrative of a) the role of my ballot, b) the world of the alternative, and c) how I should prioritize impact calculus in the round.

General Notes:

- If you are going for more than 2 major things in your 2NR/2AR, there is a low chance you are going to win the round. Similarly, if you don't provide an impact calculus, you likely will not like the decision I make at the end of the round.

- Negative strategy-- there needs to be some sort of offense in the round. A defensive strategic approach has rarely won my ballot.

- Please don't be unpleasant during the round. I can almost guarantee that if you are, it's not aligned with the quality of your argumentation and it's just going to be a long round. For me this looks more like arrogance or intentional cruelness-- I'm fine with bluntness, anger, frustration, etc. If you are unsure what I mean by this, please ask.

- I pay attention to the rhetoric used in the round. Slurs and derogatory language will almost assuredly earn you lower speaker points.

- Both teams should start impact calc early, use this to frame your speeches and line by line, and use impact calc to prioritize voting issues and role of the ballot.

- I reward debaters who make an effort to deeply engage with the topic area and issues.

- Squirrel affs are rarely good affs. They generally have poor structure, poor solvency or advantage foundations, and generate poor debate. I would rather see a super mainstream topic that prompts a lot of clash in the round than an aff that is poorly written for an ambush factor.

- In more policy centered debates, I may err more on the tech aspect of the debate. In other cases, I may give some leniency on tech if the arguments are "true" (understanding that truth can be a subjective value).

- I'm starting to realize through my working social justice that I'm more easily effected by detailed narratives of sexism, racism, ableism (esp. invisible disabilities), and sexual assault. Trigger warnings aren't very helpful for me as a judge (I don't have a choice to opt out of them and I don't think that I would want to) but know that I may ask for a minute to just breathe or get some water between speeches, so I can have a clear head for the next speaker, if there is a particularly vivid or powerful speech. This is by no means a common thing that I do, but I did want to add this to affirm the value of self-care in this activity.

- Add me to the email chain:

- I flow on my computer, so please make sure you take a beat at the top of flows before jumping in and please slow down to about 70% for analytical arguments, especially if they are fewer than 5 words. I have physical pain with my joints, especially at the ends of long days of judging. This doesn't make my abilities to assess your arguments any less, nor does it impact my competency. I will do my best to say "slow" if my joints can't keep up.

- If you think you might want my flow of the round, I'm happy to send it. Please try to give me a heads up before the round starts, as I organize my flows a bit differently when they are being distributed. Also, send me an e-mail after the round to remind me to send it to you.

TL;DR: You do you. Have fun. Be a decent human in the round. Learn some things.

Angela Engels Paradigm

I like logical arguments that make sense and are easy to follow. Originality is great as well. Please do not spew, I cannot follow it. You can still talk fast, just make sure I can understand what you are saying. Try to avoid filler words as much as possible .Eye contact is also important. Voters/impacts are also great. Tell me why you win the round.

Sara Erickson Paradigm

I am like a debate dinosaur. Maybe not a dinosaur, but a majestic unicorn that wants to be understood. I have been doing this activity since 1991 and I have literally done/coached every event. I believe that this is a community and we should all treat each other with respect.

I can flow. My skills are not what they used to be, but I can flow. Please be super clear in your organization and if I can't understand you, I will let you know. I am good with theory and enjoy it when done well. I don't have argument what makes you happy and pick a strategy that you thing you can win with.

Spencer Evans Paradigm

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Bre Hughes Paradigm

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Arianna Nelson Paradigm

For Policy - last updated for Copper Classic 2020

This is a very basic explanation of the biases I have when I'm judging. If you have any more questions contact me before round. Add me on the email chain now rather than later.

My Experience

Debated 3 years @ Copper Hills, 1 year at Wayne State, now debating at Weber State.

Basic Biz

Time yourself. Tag teams fine. Don't be explicit about your racism/sexism if you don't want me to evaluate it. Evaluations tbd.

I'm not here to change how you debate. Everyone says this, but you do you. You're probably going to win doing that rather than trying to adjust for the very minor details that's the rest of my paradigm.


You don't have to talk about the topic (but you can also lose on T). Affirmation / Method is better than just a critique. It's cool if you have a topical plan - please explain acronyms.


I view these debates as competing models of the activity. Debate is inherently competitive, but how we compete is also important. I am not easily persuaded by "you destroy the activity" impacts. I prefer arguments centered around creating better interactions, whether that be a dialogue, political, accessible, fair, educational, etc, and default to how that affects debaters. Change my mind.


If you've got to go meta, go meta. Make my decision for me about where I should be flowing. Connect the theories to events / experiences / history if you want to make it more compelling for me.


If it's got a ton of pieces, please explain them and why they're important before the last speech. Be explicit about the NB in the 1NC. I do think some CPs cheat more than others.


I have a very vague understanding of Politics DA theory, so if you're going for it you should contextualize it to the round (ex. winding way, bottom of the docket, anything w fiat).

Offense > Defense @ 2AC's.


Slow down on your blocks. Everything is up for debate as far as what should be done in policy.

Misc. Factoids

I have a lower threshold for presumption than most.

I have no idea what countries the US sells arms too. I kind of just assumed it goes to where we can ensure the most black/brown/yellow death +/= profit.

I don't have a metric for when T is reasonable or not. You should provide one.


Exceptional is 29.4+

Good speaker is 28.8 - 29.3

Average speaker is 28.3 - 28.7

You need some serious work is 27.5 - 28.2

Signing you up for a class on inclusion and "this is the line no one should cross" is 26.

I think a good speaker is defined by...

- Balancing the line between meta and line by line

- Telling a story instead a scattered list of arguments

- Having a strong / memorable presence in round

For Congress - updated for Nats19

I'm primarily a policy debater, but I also do research and judging for The Harker School's Speech and Congress program. I base my rankings off of each congressional representatives' style, questions/answers, and argument construction. The easiest way for me to remember people is by the arguments they're representing. Because of this, I enjoy a coherent strategy for each bill (switching sides is fine, but using tact to make it a natural progression is helpful). My favorite type of congressional engagement is listening to good rebuttal speeches and questions that tactfully point out plot holes or set up new arguments.

Mike Shackelford Paradigm

Mike Shackelford
Head Coach of Rowland Hall

Do what you do best. I’m comfortable with all arguments. Practice what you preach and debate how you would teach. Strive to make it the best debate possible.

Key Preferences & Beliefs
Debate is a game.
Literature determines fairness.
It’s better to engage than exclude.
Critique is a verb.
Defense is undervalued.

Judging Style
I work hard to be objective.
I flow on my computer. If you want a copy of my flow, just ask.
I think CX is very important.
I reward self-awareness, clash, good research, humor, and bold decisions.
Add me to the email chain: mikeshackelford(at)rowlandhall(dot)org

Feel free to ask.

Want something more specific? More absurd?

Debate in front of me as if this was your 9 judge panel:

Ian Beier, Maggie Berthiaume, Daryl Burch, Yao Yao Chen, Malcom Gordon, Jyleesa Hampton, Nicholas Miller, Christina Philips, jon sharp

If both teams agree, I will adopt the philosophy and personally impersonate any of my former students:

Andrew Arsht, Madison Barker, David Bernstein, Madeline Brague, Julia Goldman, Emily Gordon, Elliot Kovnick, Will Matheson, Ben McGraw, James Steiner, Corinne Sugino, Caitlin Walrath, Sydney Young (these are the former debaters with paradigms... you can also throw it back to any of my old school students).

LD Paradigm

Most of what is above will apply here below in terms of my expectations and preferences. I spend most of my time at tournaments judging policy debate rounds, however I do teach LD and judge practice debates in class. I try to keep on top of the arguments and developments in LD and likely am familiar with your arguments to some extent.

Theory: I'm unlikely to vote here. Most theory debates aren't impacted well and often put out on the silliest of points and used as a way to avoid substantive discussion of the topic. It has a time and a place. That time and place is the rare instance where your opponent has done something that makes it literally impossible for you to win. I would strongly prefer you go for substance over theory. Speaker points will reflect this preference.

Speed: Clarity > Speed. That should be a no-brainer. That being said, I'm sure I can flow you at whatever speed you feel is appropriate to convey your arguments.

Disclosure: I think it's uniformly good for large and small schools. I think it makes debate better. If you feel you have done a particularly good job disclosing arguments (for example, full case citations, tags, parameters, changes) and you point that out during the round I will likely give you an extra half of a point if I agree.

John Shackelford Paradigm

John Shackelford

Assistant Coach: Rowland Hall, UT


I keep my camera on as often as I can. I still try to look at faces during CX and rebuttals. Extra decimals if you try to put analytics in doc.

I still end prep once the doc has been sent.


****TLDR IN BOLD****

Please include me in email chains during the debate (johnshackelf[at]gmail). I do not follow along with the speech doc during a speech, but sometimes I will follow along to check on clipping and to follow along with cross-ex questions about specific pieces of evidence

Here is what an ideal debate looks like. (Heads up! I can be a silly goose, so the more you do this, the better I can judge you)

- Line by Line (Do it in order)

- Extending > reading a new card (Your better cards are in your first speech anyway. Tell me how the card is and how frames the debate in your future analysis)

- More content >Less Jargon (avoid talking about the judge, another team, flows, yourselves. Focus on the substance. Avoid saying: special metaphors, Turns back, check back, the link check, Pulling or extending across, Voting up or down. They don’t exist.)

- Great Cross-examination (I am ok with tag team, I just find it unstrategic)

- Compare > description (Compare more, describe less)

- Overviews/Impact Calc (Focus on the core controversy of the debate. Offense wins)

- Engage > Exclude

- Clarity > Speed

- Making generics specific to the round

- Researched T Shells (Do work before reading T. I love T, but I have a standard on what is a good T debate)

- Arguments you can only read on this topic!!

Popular Q&A

- K/FW: More sympathetic to Ks that are unique to the topic. But I dig the 1 off FW strat or 9 off vs a K.

- Theory: Perfcon theory is a thing, condo theory is not a thing. I like cheating strats. I like it when people read theory against cheating strats too.

- Prep time: I stop prep time when you eject your jump drive or when you hit send for the email. I am probably the most annoying judge about this, but I am tired of teams stealing prep and I want to keep this round moving

- I flow on my computer

Want extra decimals?

Do what I say above, and have fun with it. I reward self-awareness, clash, good research, humor, and bold decisions. It is all about how you play the game.

Cite like Michigan State and open source like Kentucky

Speaker Points-Scale - I'll do my best to adhere to the following unless otherwise instructed by a tournament's invite:


29.5-This is the best speech I will hear at this tournament, and probably at the following one as well.

29-I expect you to get a speaker award.

28.5-You're clearly in the top third of the speakers at the tournament.

28-You're around the upper middle (ish area)

27.5-You need some work, but generally, you're doing pretty well

27-You need some work

26.5-You don't know what you're doing at all

26 and lower-you've done something ethically wrong or obscenely offensive that is explained on the ballot.

All in all, debate in front of me if your panel was Mike Bausch, Mike Shackelford, Hannah Shoell, Catherine Shackelford, and Ian Beier

If you have any questions, then I would be more than happy to answer them

Catherine Shackelford Paradigm

Please include me on the email chain:

Do what you do best. I’m comfortable with all arguments. Practice what you preach and debate how you would teach. Strive to make it the best debate possible. I reward self-awareness, clash, good research, humor, and bold decisions. I will not tolerate language or behaviors that create a hostile environment. Please include trigger warnings for sexual violence. Feel free to ask me any questions you have before the round.

Specific things:

Speed - I'm comfortable with speed but please recognize that if you're reading typed blocks that are not in the speech doc at the same speed you are reading cards, there's a chance I will miss something because I can't flow every word you're saying as fast as you can say them. Slow down just a bit for what you want me to write down or include your blocks in the doc. I will say "clear" if you are not clear.

Topicality- I enjoy good topicality debates. To me good topicality debates are going to compare impacts and discuss what interp of the topic is going to be better for the debate community and the goals that are pursued by debaters.The goals and purpose of debate is of course debatable and can help establish which impacts are more important than others so make sure you're doing that work for me.

Counterplans- I enjoy creative counterplans best but even your standard ones will be persuasive to me if there is a solid solvency advocate and net-benny.

Theory - In-round abuse will always be far more persuasive to me than merely potential abuse and tricksy interps. I expect more than just reading blocks.

K- I really enjoy a good critical debate. Please establish how your kritik interacts with the affirmative and/or the topic and what that means for evaluating the round in some sort of framework. Authors and buzzwords alone will not get you very far even if I am familiar with the literature. I expect contextual link work with a fully articulated impact and alternative. If your K does not have an alternative, I will weigh it as a DA (that's probably non-unique).

Performance - All debate is a performance and relies on effective communication. If you are communicating to me a warranted argument, I do not care how you are presenting it.

Gabe Smith Paradigm


Obviously the first priority is clash. I want responsive arguments. I'm fine with speed and will say clear if you are not understandable. Flashing isn't prep within reason and tag team cx is great. I am not a fan of judge intervention on the rfd, if there is a flaw in their argument or something they missed I won't vote on it unless it's pointed out. Any specific questions you have I'll answer before the round.

Kritiks and Theory

I was all about the kritik/critical side of debate when I was competing, I think it makes for a more interesting round IF it is run well. That being said, I still have a pretty normal threshold on kritiks, I'm not going to lean towards your side just because you have one. I'm pretty familiar with a wide area of literature as far as ks go, so if you have a K you can't run against most judges, go for it. I'm good with theory, but it needs to have a reason for being brought up and it needs to be articulated well. I don't like it when theory is run as an obvious time skew, it makes the argument more illegitimate than it already is (because so many people don't run it well). Please please please do the fw debate well, on the aff and the neg.

Counterplans and Disads

As far as DAs go, make sure there is a good link and internal link explanation. I prefer slightly smaller impacts than nuc war because let's be honest not super probable most of the time unless you have a really really good miscalc scenario or something like that. Make sure you're weighing the net benefit against the case early and often. Seems simple but so many teams don't do it.

On Case

Make sure to keep extending/cross-applying/overviewing case throughout the round. This is another one that seems really easy. It's hard for me to vote aff if case isn't ever discussed. Other than that, your aff is your choice. I'm definitely partial to k affs if they have good solvency. But again, I won't vote on it just because you run it.

Traditional Debate

I love traditional debate IF IT’S UNIQUE and/or specific. If it’s not the clash should be really really really good.

Zach Thiede Paradigm

— It is important to me that you are VERY clear at the end of the debate. Tell me what you are winning and how it relates and interacts to what the other team has said and why that means you should get the ballot. This is not done well enough in 90% of debates which is a huge bummer because it usually makes voting very easy for a judge.

— I often vote on technical concessions. I will practically never vote on truth over tech, because it is just short for “I like intervening in rounds as a judge.”

— I rarely read evidence unless there is some sort of dispute around it or I have been directed to do so by the debaters. I think this is the most fair way of adjudicating a debate for it requires the least amount of intervention on my part and rewards clarity in the debate. This also allows me to avoid drawing on information of your arguments that I held prior to the debate.

— If a team takes prep to ask a question, they can cut you off whenever they want.

— My last year of college I went for Baudrillard on the aff and the neg every debate. Take that as you will (I understand this may ruin my prefs for some people, but I went for only topical arguments the rest of my entire debate career.)

— My debate partner in college, Zachery Baker, shares a similar judging style to me (he also has a much longer paradigm). If you want a longer explanation of my judging paradigm I would go look at his page.

Rough point scale: 29.9-30 (perfect), 29.4-29.8 (some of the best debating I have seen all year), 28.9-29.3 (great), 28.4-28.8 (good), 27.9-28.3 (meh), below-27.8 (needs some serious work)