BU Law’s student successes in advanced appellate advocacy, negotiation, and client counseling competitions.
Boston University School of Law prides itself on its robust student advocacy program. From class-wide participation in the 1L Esdaile Moot Court Competition, to advanced appellate advocacy in the Edward C. Stone, Homer Albers, or intramural moot court competitions, students develop skills that will have a direct impact on their future practice. Student advocacy teams prepare to compete against some of the country’s top law students in appellate advocacy, negotiation, and client counseling competitions. Below, find results from completed competitions, and check back frequently for updates!
- Homer Albers Prize Competition
- 23rd Annual Thurgood Marshall Memorial Moot Court Competition
- Seigenthaler-Sutherland Cup National First Amendment Moot Court Competition
- 25th Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot
- Giles Sutherland Rich Moot Court Competition
- John J. Gibbons Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition
- Oxford International Intellectual Property Law Moot Competition
- ABA National Appellate Advocacy Regional Competition
- Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition – US Qualifying Rounds
- ABA Negotiation Competition for Region 1
- National Moot Court – Regionals
- Edward C. Stone Moot Court Competition
Congratulations to all the student advocacy and moot court teams on a successful year! Special congratulations to the 2018 Homer Albers Prize Competition winners, next year’s intermural teams, and the students selected to direct the 2018–19 competitions.
Homer Albers Prize Winners
Best Petitioner Brief: Omeed Firoozgan and Ian Connor Gillen
Best Respondent Brief: Roy Fan and Jayvee Rhoda
Best Oralist: Omeed Firoozgan
Best Team: Alexandra Arnold and Taylor Mielnicki
Second Team: Omeed Firoozgan and Ian Connor Gillen
2018–19 Moot Court Boards
Albers Directors: Michelle Bennett and Roy Fan
Stone Directors: Courtney Merrill, Jake Picard, and Jayvee Rhoda
2018–19 Intramural Teams
Gibbons Criminal Procedure: Laura Martin, Liana Newton, and David Zhang
National Appellate Advocacy: Weijia Ma, Meghan McCafferty, and Zach Missan
National Appellate Advocacy: Joseph Azeizat, Meghan Hayes, and Matthew Parker
National Moot Court: Alexandra Arnold, David Bier, and Jason Ecker
Oxford International IP: Williams Dixon and Dylan Hixson
Siegenthaler-Sutherland: Kara Morris, Lyndsey Wajert, and Adam Zuro
Thurgood Marshall: Anna Kozlowski and Stella Oyalabu
Ashley Satterlee and Jessica Scarbrough (both ’18) competed this year in the 23rd Annual Thurgood Marshall Memorial Moot Court Competition, sponsored by the Younger Lawyers Division of the Federal Bar Association. This was BU Law’s first time competing in this competition, which is one of the few moots designed specifically for two-person teams. Arguments were held across a series of courthouses in Washington, DC, on March 22 and 23. Forty teams argued in the preliminary rounds of the competition, which took place at the District of Columbia H. Carl Moultrie I Courthouse.
Teams argued two issues in this year’s moot: First, whether a federal district court has the authority to decide whether to vacate an adoption because of a state’s failure to comply with the Indian Child Welfare Act. Second, whether the Indian Child Welfare Act’s preference for placement of Indian children in Indian foster care, adoptive homes, and other settings is consistent with the constitutional guarantee of equal protection. Teams advance out of the preliminary rounds based on their aggregate scores, but those scores are not revealed during the competition. Although the BU Law team was not one of the teams that advanced to the Round of Sixteen, the judges gave them positive feedback, citing the team’s especially strong rebuttal and responsiveness to questions. Moreover, the team was awarded the prize for Third Best Brief in the competition! We congratulate them on their success.
Katherine DePangher, Christopher Grimaldi, and Cristina Lloyd (all ’18) competed in this year’s Seigenthaler-Sutherland Cup National First Amendment Moot Court Competition, hosted by the Columbus School of Law, the Catholic University of America and the First Amendment Center, in Washington, DC. Students had to brief and argue two issues. First, whether a State official engaged in state action by deleting an individual’s post on her personal Facebook page and banning him from posting further comments on that page. Second, whether that State official violated the individual’s First Amendment rights by engaging in viewpoint discrimination in a state-sponsored forum rather than engaging in government speech.
In the first round, the team faced University of California Los Angeles Law School; in the second round, the team faced Baylor Law School. Teams in this competition advance based on aggregate scores (rather than based on who won or lost in a given round) and scores are not published, but the team received excellent feedback from the judges in both rounds. The judges, including former Maryland Circuit Court Judge Ronald H. Jarashow, were especially impressed by the team members’ ability to listen carefully to and answer questions, and their overall knowledge of the law. Only eight teams out of twenty-four advanced out of the preliminary rounds, however, and this year our team did not advance. We congratulate the team on their strong showing!
Jonathan Allen, Liana Newton, Patrick Leisure, Celeste Peay (all ’19), and coach Dimitrios Ioannidis (’90) travelled to Vienna, Austria in March to participate in the 25th Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. This was the first year that BU Law joined the prestigious international competition.
The Vis Arbitral Moot promotes the study of international commercial law and arbitration as a pathway to resolve business disputes by asking law students from around the world to mediate a concrete legal problem. Teams are asked to follow specified arbitration rules as they draft two memoranda, one as the claimant and the second as the respondent, with the goal of resolving a dispute related to the sale or purchase of goods under the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. The Vis Arbitral Moot often pairs teams trained in civil law schools against those from common law schools—to give each team the opportunity to learn from different approaches. Similarly, the judges in each round come from both common law and civil law backgrounds.
This year, 360 law schools from around the world participated, pitting BU Law against great schools in the four rounds of arguments. In the first round, the team argued as the respondent against the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) and the University of Latvia. BU also argued as claimant against the University of Heidelberg and the University of Banja Luka. During the preparation for the final rounds, the BU Law team practiced with the team from the University of Osijek, Croatia Faculty of Law.
While the team did not continue into the final rounds of the competition, they received excellent feedback from the judges, who noted in particular the strength of their presentation. Congratulations to the BU Law team!
Phil Chen and Autumn Wu (both ’18) participated in the Giles Sutherland Rich Moot Court Competition, hosted by the American Intellectual Property Law Association. The team reached the semi-final round of the Northeastern Regional Competition, and while they will not continue to the national competition, they competed admirably and their written brief received the highest score of any of the twelve teams competing.
Chen and Wu competed against 11 teams from Temple University Beasley School of Law, Columbia Law School, the University of Minnesota Law School, Brooklyn Law School, Suffolk Law School, the University of New Hampshire School of Law, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
In the first round, they succeeded against students from Pitt Law. The BU Law team continued to the next round of the competition along with two teams from Columbia and one from UNH. The team they competed against in the semi-final round, from Columbia, won the regional competition.
March 16–17, 2018
Whitney Beatty, Christopher Uphouse, and Nicole Theal (all ’18) represented BU Law at the John J. Gibbons Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition, hosted by Seton Hall Law School. Forty-five schools competed in this year’s competition. The BU Law team faced the University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law and Widener University College of Law in the two preliminary rounds. The competition does not score the preliminary rounds head-to-head, rather, teams receive an aggregated score from those first two rounds. The team’s preliminary round scores were high enough to advance them, along with fifteen other teams, to the octofinal round of the competition. There, the team faced Notre Dame Law School, but lost the round. The team did, however, receive positive feedback from the judges.
In addition to advancing to the octofinal round, the team received placed third among the best respondent briefs. Given the exceptionally high number of teams competing overall, advancing to the octofinal round of this competition is always extremely difficult. It is an impressive achievement. The team represented BU Law well, and we congratulate them on their success!
March 15–17, 2018
Eric Dunbar and Mandy Wang (both ’18) traveled to Oxford University Faculty of Law to participate in the Oxford International Intellectual Property Law Moot Competition.
Students in the competition must brief both sides of a problem, and the organizers use those briefs to determine which teams to invite to participate. Only 28 of 66 teams that applied were accepted to compete, and BU Law was the only law school from the United States selected.
The problem this year related to “copyright and performers’ rights, with the fact pattern involving a fireworks display and a dance and spoken word presentation by three cockatoos,” according to the competition website. The case was “narrowed to four questions in relation to the meaning of ‘dramatic work,’ the test for authorship, assessment of non-literal infringement, and whether an animal-only presentation can constitute a performance.”
The BU Law team won two of their four arguments against two Canadian schools—the University of Alberta Faculty of Law and Osgoode Hall Law School— as well as Tsinghua School of Law from China and the University College London. In spite of the team’s strong performance, it did not continue on to further rounds. Please join us in congratulating the team on its hard work!
March 1–3, 2018
BU Law sent two teams to the 2018 American Bar Association National Appellate Advocacy Regional Competition, which took place at the Edward Brooke Courthouse. Nina Datlof, Rachel Rose, and Michael Vaglica (all ’18) comprised one team, while Matthew Kipnis, Rosie Loring, and Katie Mullaley (all ’18) comprised the other.
Datlof, Rose, and Vaglica won their first round against Ohio Northern University College of Law. Although they narrowly lost their second round to a team from the Texas Tech School of Law, they recovered and won their third round against Ave Maria School of Law. Kipnis, Loring, and Mullaley also won their first round, against the University of South Carolina School of Law, and won their second round against Wayne State University Law School. They lost their third round by less than a point, however, to Penn State Law.
Both teams advanced to the semi-final round of the competition. Unfortunately, both lost in two very close rounds, to a different Wayne State team and to Southwestern Law School. The teams received excellent feedback from the judges and represented BU Law very well. In addition, Rachel Rose won an award for Best Advocate, placing 6th overall. We congratulate them on their hard work and success!
Nicolas Mertz (’18), Ryan Mitsos (’19), Alyssa Pratt (’19), and Omeed Firoozgan (’19) participated in the qualifying rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in February. The competition was held at the Eastern District of Louisiana Federal Court House in New Orleans.
This year’s problem involved the legality of nuclear weapons and the integrity of the arbitration process. Mertz placed fourth among 72 oralists and the brief placed third out of 19 memorials. James Black (’19) and Stephanie Cohen (’18) contributed to the memorials but were unable to continue with the team. Firoozgan stepped in at the last minute and argued admirably.
The team competed against University of Georgia School of Law, St. Mary’s School of Law, Chapman University School of Law, and Loyola University New Orleans School of Law. It scored wins against St. Mary’s and Loyola, but lost to Chapman and the University of Georgia, which went on to the semi-finals.
Associate Director for Research, Faculty Services, and Educational Technology Stefanie Weigmann and Foreign, Comparative and International Law Librarian Carlos Andrés Pagán coached the team. Professors Daniela Caruso, Rebecca Ingber, William Park, and Robert Sloane, and Lecturer Chester Hooper mooted the team with assistance from Associate Director of Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy Program Jen McCloskey and Lecturer Marni Caputo.
“The team performed extremely well with everyone showing great improvement through the mooting process and into the competition itself,” says Weigmann. “Everyone on the team was incredibly supportive of each other. We learned a lot of valuable lessons which we will take into next year’s competition.”
Two teams from BU Law—Benjamin Nimphie and Mark Dillman, and Josephine Kovacs and Lyndsey Wajert (all ’19)—competed on November 11 and 12 in the American Bar Association Negotiation Competition for Region 1, hosted by BU Law. Twenty-four teams from around the country participated in the regional competition.
The Negotiation Competition asks students to negotiate against another team through two preliminary rounds, each involving a different legal scenario. Preliminary round judges watch both rounds, then rank all four teams. The four best-ranked teams proceed to a final round, where the teams again face off in pairs to negotiate a new problem. Judges again rank all four teams to determine the competition winner. The competition is challenging, as students have limited time each round to develop their understanding of their opposing team’s goals and to propose terms.
Nimphie and Dillman negotiated against one of the teams from Quinnipiac University School of Law and one of the teams from Western New England University School of Law. The team received several first and second rankings from the judges, and a higher ranking overall than the team from Western New England (which eventually came in second in the competition overall), but ultimately finished the preliminary round tied with another team for fifth place, and thus barely missed advancing. Kovacs and Wajert negotiated against teams from New England School of Law and Quinnipiac. Although the team received high rankings, they also did not advance to the finals.
Both of BU Law’s teams put in a great deal of hard work preparing for the competition. This year’s regional was unusually large, and as only four of twenty-four teams could advance to the finals, the competition was difficult. The student directors, Catherine Mullaley (’18), Nicole Rushovich (’18), Ryan McCarthy (’19), and Kelly Moran (’19) also put in a great effort to host our internal competition and to prepare the teams for regionals.
We congratulate both teams as well as the directors on their hard work!
Congratulations to Vidhi Bamzai, Dan Kerns, and Aaron Wiener (all ’18), this year’s National Moot Court team members. The BU Law team competed in the Region 1 competition, hosted by Boston College Law School on November 18–19.
For this year’s problem, the teams were asked to argue two difficult issues. First, the teams argued over whether a plaintiff alleging a First Amendment violation in a § 1983 retaliatory arrest suit must plead and prove a lack of probable cause as an element of her claim. Second, the teams argued over whether a driver of a rental car who booked and paid for the rental, but was not contractually authorized to drive it, has a legitimate expectation of privacy sufficient to convey standing to sue over an unconstitutional vehicle search.
In the first round, the team faced the best brief-winning team from Syracuse University College of Law in a round in which the teams had the opportunity to argue before retired Associate Justice Mitchell J. Sikora Jr. of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. Although the BU Law team had the better oral argument score, Syracuse’s extremely high brief score gave them the narrow win.
In the second round, the BU Law team bested BC Law. Advocate Vidhi Bamzai received a perfect oral argument score from both judges. Although the team defeated BC and despite high scores from the judges, the team did not advance to the semifinal argument. Jen Taylor McCloskey, associate director of the Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy Program, who coached the team, noted, “All three advocates had exceptionally strong oral arguments. In particular, their ability to answer the judges’ questions was outstanding.”
Please join us in congratulating them on an excellent effort!
Congratulations to this year’s participants in the Edward C. Stone Moot Court competition! More than 60 2Ls competed in the competition this year, and all of the participants worked extremely hard during what is an especially busy time. Student preceptors and alumni argument judges remarked on the strength of the competitors.
In particular, we’d like to recognize the winners of the Best Brief and Best Oralist awards for each problem, as well as the Albers invitees listed below.
- Colby MacDonald and Zachary Sisko for problem 1: United States v. Toretto
- Meghan Hayes and Matthew R. Parker for problem 2: Saviors Electronics Inc. v. Brimes
- Jordan Gratch and Taylor Mielnicki for problem 3: Sapermine v. Regal
- Laura Martin for problem 1: United States v. Toretto
- Zachary Missan for problem 2: Saviors Electronics Inc. v. Brimes
- Jason Ecker for problem 3: Sapermine v. Regal
Congratulations to the twenty-four students who have been invited to participate in the 2018 Homer Albers Prize competition this spring!
Carlos Eduardo Cousins
Ian Connor Gillen