March 29, 2011
BU Law Congratulates the 2010-2011 Moot Court Teams!
BU Law congratulates Christina Asencio, Elizabeth M, and Nici Schult, all JD (’11), on their performance at Seton Hall Law School’s 2011 John J. Gibbons National Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition, held on April 1-2, 2011. The team faced two strong teams in the preliminary rounds, including the University of Maryland School of Law, an eventual semi-finalist. They argued well, but only 16 of 40 teams moved on to the octofinals, and the team did not advance.
Four teams from BU Law competed in the Eastern Regional for the Constance Baker Motley National Moot Court Competition in Constitutional Law, held at Suffolk University on March 26-27, 2011. Geoff Derrick (‘12), Timothy Hatfield (‘12), Tom Faiella (‘12), Lisa Liebherr (‘12), Jordan Smith (‘11), Joshua Fairchild (‘13), Robert Callahan (‘12, and Paul Shapiro (‘12) competed in three rounds of oral arguments.
Robert Callahan and Paul Shapiro won the prize for Best Respondent Brief.
Only eight teams advanced out of the preliminary round to the quarterfinals. Although Geoff Derrick and Timothy Hatfield had the second-highest overall score after the round, because teams advance on total win-loss records, the team did not advance.
Congratulations to Todd Marabella, Caitlin Monjeau and Patrick Marinaro, all J.D. (’11), for winning the 2011 Sutherland Cup Competition, held March 18 and 19, as well as the prize for Best Brief.
BU Law faced teams from Ohio State School of Law and the University of Florida School of Law in the preliminary rounds. The team advanced to the semi-final round based on its high overall combined brief and oral scores. The team then faced the University of Florida team again.
Both teams advanced to the finals. In the final round, the two teams appeared before a particularly challenging panel consisting of the Honorable John R. Fisher of the D.C. Court of Appeals, the Honorable Scott W. Stucky of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and the Honorable Margret Robb, Chief Judge of the Indiana Court of Appeals.
BU Law was chosen as the winning team after withstanding an onslaught of difficult questions from the bench. The Sutherland Cup Competition is the oldest National moot court competition in the country. The appellate advocacy competition focuses on constitutional law and is sponsored by the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University.
Eric Lee and Stephen Pessagno, both J.D. (’11), were undefeated at this year’s Oxford Intellectual Property Moot Court Competition, held March 18 and 19.
The BU Law team defeated the London School of Economics and the University of Bangalore in the preliminary rounds and were one of eight teams out of twenty-two to advance to the quarter finals—the only American team school to do so. In the quarter finals, BU Law defeated the team from University College London.
Nonetheless, due to the peculiar scoring rules of the competition, our team was unable to advance to the semi-finals. The team from the London School of Economics ultimately won the competition.
Congratulations to Adrian Angus, Ashley Anderson and Molly Carter, all J.D. (’11) on their strong performance at the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy 2011 regional moot court competition, held March 10 through March 12 at the Edward Brooke Courthouse.
The team faced strong teams from St. Mary’s School of Law and St. Thomas University School of Law and narrowly lost to each of those teams in the first two preliminary rounds. Although BU Law’s opponents for the third preliminary round failed to appear, the judges graciously agreed to hear our team’s argument, and the team received excellent feedback. Only 16 of the 39 teams advanced after the first three rounds. Although the team did not advance, they had a strong brief score and argued well in all of their rounds.
BU Law Team Participates in Asylum and Refugee National Moot Court Competition BU Law Team Participates in Asylum and Refugee National Moot Court Competition
BU Law would like to recognize Mia Midenjak and Alexander Leff, both J.D. (’11), for their participation in the Fourth Annual Asylum and Refugee Law National Moot Court Competition, hosted by the University of California, Davis on February 5, 2011.
This year’s issues involved the Immigration and Naturalization Act and posed the problems of whether domestic violence qualifies as persecution for the purpose of establishing an asylum claim and whether “female victims of domestic violence in Kyrgyzstan” qualify as a “particular social group” for purposes of the act.
The annual moot court competition is the only such competition in the nation themed exclusively around asylum and refugee law.
BU Law faced two panels of three judges each during its participation in the preliminary rounds. Out of the 16 teams participating in the competition, only the four highest-scoring teams—as determined by an aggregate score combining 40 percent of the brief score and 60 percent of the oral argument score—were asked to advance to the semi-final round.
Although BU Law was not selected to advance to the semi-final round, the team received positive feedback from the judges on its performance in the two preliminary rounds.
BU Law would like to congratulate Leigh Campbell and Jennifer Mikels, both J.D. (’11), on their performance at the 21st Annual National First Amendment Moot Court Competition, held February 17 and 18, 2011 at the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University.
The team advanced past 32 other teams to the final round and ultimately placed second after the College of William and Mary Law School team.
This year’s problem asked whether public school officials have the prerogative to punish a student for off-campus online speech that they determine is vulgar, violates others’ rights or disrupts the classroom vis à vis the First Amendment—an especially topical issue in today’s context.
“Each year we seek to give the Moot Court competitors a challenging and controversial issue in First Amendment law that’s drawn from today’s headlines,” said Tiffany Villager, director of the moot court program and First Amendment research for the First Amendment Center, in a First Amendment Center press release.
“This is something that I didn't realize was so pervasive among the courts, that it was such a big issue,” said Campbell in the press release. “Learning about it ... is applicable to the real world of the Internet that we're facing.”
The competition hosted over 100 attorneys, professors, federal and state judges, and legal scholars in judging panels for the preliminary and final rounds. BU Law had to face a series of challenging panels to secure the award for runner-up.
“All the judges throughout the competition were tough, but [the final-round jurists] were certainly a hot bench — they asked a lot of very on-point questions,” said Mikels in the press release.
Unlike most moot court competitions, arguments in the National First Amendment Moot Court Competition are not scored head-to-head. Teams never learn their score and are only able to gauge their performance based on whether or not they advance each round.
The BU Law team argued four times in the preliminary rounds before being selected as one of the eight teams to advance to the quarterfinal round. In the quarterfinal round, BU Law faced the South Texas College of Law team—the first team they had faced in the preliminary rounds—and won, subsequently moving on to the semifinal round.
In the semifinal round, facing the DePaul University College of Law team, BU Law argued before a panel of federal district court judges and won, which allowed them to advance to the final round.
The National First Amendment Moot Court Competition, recognized as one of the country’s most prestigious constitutional-law competitions, requires exceptional command of First Amendment law, assertive oratory and the ability to analyze and tackle complex legal scenarios.
Congratulations to Claire Catalano, William Davison and Alistair Reader, all J.D. (’11), who teamed up to represent BU Law at the 61st Annual National Moot Court Competition. The competitions commenced last fall and culminated in the National Round, which took place January 31 to February 3 at the New York City Bar.
After winning First Place overall and Best Brief at the National Moot Court Regional Competition and both its preliminary matchups at the National Competition, the team progressed to the Octo-Final round of the National Competition. Although the team ultimately lost to the University of Tennessee College of Law team, BU Law’s high-quality briefs, active teamwork, effective distribution of tasks and strategic time management enabled the team’s remarkable success throughout the competitions.
BU Law competed against 27 other teams from fourteen regions for the National title.
“Although both teams argued well, the University of Tennessee team ultimately prevailed,” said Jen Taylor, associate director of the First Year Writing and Advocacy Programs at BU Law. “Claire, Alistair, and Bil were an exceptionally strong team, and we congratulate them on their efforts!”
This year’s competition staged two issues—complex scenarios surrounding preliminary injunctions and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1874 (ERISA)—still undecided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The BU Law team boasted the highest-scoring brief among the submissions to the Regional Competition, which bolstered the team’s success in the preliminary matches. Unlike other moot competitions, for each round in the National Moot Court competition, the teams’ written brief scores count for a sizeable 40 percent of their score for that round.
Although BU Law did not ultimately win Best Brief at the National Competition—briefs are re-scored after the Regional Competition—the team’s writing preparation was consistently noted for its caliber.
“For writing the brief, we started…about a month or more before it was due [on October 18, 2010],” said Davison. “It was very important to write a quality brief. Although we were all quite busy, I think we were successful in that regard.”
Reader’s noteworthy rebuttals in the preliminary rounds also secured the team’s continuation into the National Competition, according to both Davison and Reader.
Although BU Law was met with challenging and dynamic judging panels and teams of equally qualified opponents in the Regional Competition, BU Law’s score ultimately surpassed that of six other teams from New England law schools, allowing it to move on to the National round. The Regional Competition was hosted by the Boston College Law School at the Suffolk County Courthouse and Suffolk Law School November 11 and 12, 2010.
“Overall, as a team we worked really well together,” said Catalano. “I couldn't ask for better teammates.”
Co-sponsored by the New York City Bar Association and the American College of Trial Lawyers, the National Moot Court Competition is the oldest and largest moot court competition in the United States, featuring teams from over 150 law schools.
BU Law is proud to recognize Danielle Lewis and Meg Larkin, each J.D. (’11), for their participation in the National Health Law Moot Court Competition, held at Southern Illinois University School of Law in Carbondale, Ill., on November 5 and 6, 2010.
This year’s competition issue area focused on whether a property interest exists in the body of a deceased family member, and whether a surviving family member may bring hybrid-rights claims against the state.
“The problem that was set was a very complex issue that included elements of health law and elements of constitutional law,” said Larkin. “I started by focusing on the research aspects of the competition, and seeing where the case law was on the subject, and then also looked at what had been written in law reviews and journals in order to see what social and legal arguments were already being made. Corneal donation statutes are a hugely controversial issue, so it was helpful to be able to see both sides of the debate.”After careful preparation, the team competed with thirty-two other teams. BU Law narrowly lost its first round to St. Louis University School of Law, but rebounded to beat North Carolina Central University School of Law by a substantial margin in the second round. The team advanced to the next round, when it faced Suffolk University Law School and ultimately lost.
“It was pretty thrilling to make it all the way to the [octo-final round] in what turned out to be a very competitive tournament,” said Larkin. “The best part was working with Danielle: we had a really fantastic team dynamic, and we both learned a lot through the competition.”
This year, the problem asked students to consider a hypothetical anti-terrorism act that would require non-citizens to submit identifying information to law enforcement officials. The act would also deny certain foreign nations access to public secondary education. Participants were charged with arguing whether enforcement of this act would violate an individual’s equal protection and due process rights under the U.S. Constitution.
“I enjoyed researching and arguing the moot court problem because it posed an interesting hypothetical fact pattern,” said Lee.In the preliminary rounds, Lee and Mo faced off against teams from Northeastern University School of Law and Brooklyn Law School, and qualified for the semifinals based on impressive preliminary scores. BU Law ultimately lost to Fordham in the semifinal round.
“It was great to meet students from other schools and the practitioners and federal judges who judged us,” said Lee.