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First Annual BU Law Intramural Mock Trial Tournament

On April 11-12, BU Law held its first annual Intramural Mock Trial Tournament. This tournament's mission was simple – to increase student interest in the mock trial program among first- and second-year students and to determine which students the program should encourage to try out for the mock trial team in the fall. The competition also gave current members of the program a unique opportunity to gain coaching and leadership experience.

Four teams competed in the tournament, with each team having a mix of 1L and 2L students who had never competed in any mock trial tournaments outside of BU Law. The teams had a total of nine coaches who were 2Ls or 3Ls who had competed with the BU Law Mock Trial program in the past two years.

A number of BU Law professors presided over the rounds as judges or jurors, including Judge Jack Lu and Professors David Rossman, David Breen, Mark Pettit and Daniela Caruso. Judge Harold Whitehead also presided over one round, as did a number of attorneys in the Boston community who volunteered their time.

The competition lasted three rounds, with two trials going on simultaneously in each round. "Though none of the 1L competitors had ever taken evidence or trial advocacy and many of the 2Ls had not either, the judges and jurors were overwhelmingly impressed with their presentations," says 3L coach Jonathan Lautin.

The winning team included Monica Narang (’15), Brendan Evans (’15), Zachary Evans (’16) and Amber Davis (’16), and was coached by Alex Conlon ('14) and Christie O'Rourke ('15). Additionally, the judges and jurors gave out awards for the highest ranked advocates. The recipients of these awards were Kimberly Condoulis (’16), Brendan Evans (’15), Anne Cohen (’15), and Monica Narang (’15).


Judge John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition

Admiralty Moot Court
Kelly Soltis, Doug Yang, Lecturer Chester Hooper and Joanna Lee

On April 3-5, Kelly Soltis, Doug Yang and Joanna Lee (all '14) competed in the Judge John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition at Tulane University in New Orleans. The competition was started in 1993 by the University of Texas to honor John R. Brown, one of the nation's most prominent admiralty judges and an important figure in the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

BU's team was one of twenty-four that competed in New Orleans. Teams first had to write and submit a brief in February without any outside help. Once the team submitted their brief, they could receive guidance from their coach, Lecturer Chester Hooper. The competition culminated with the oral arguments. Each team completed three oral arguments before the judges revealed the best eight teams. Though BU's team did not advance past this round, they had an excellent showing and learned a great deal from the competition.

"Our team put in a lot of effort from the time the problem was released in December through the end of our participation in the competition, says Kelly Soltis. "I was proud that we not only beat last year's winning school (the University of Richmond), but also lost by only one point in the round against the Best Oralist in the competition. We made a very strong showing for BU's first year in the competition."

"The competition was a valuable learning experience for the team and for me," says Hooper. "I was proud of the BU team's performance, both in their brief writing and in their oral arguments."


Sutherland Cup Competition

SutherlandKristen Dooley and Elizabeth McIntyre (both ’14) competed in the Sutherland Cup competition at Columbus School of Law at Catholic University on March 21-22. Sutherland Cup is an invitational competition in which twelve teams participate, and it is the oldest constitutional law competition in the country. Jen McCloskey accompanied the team. The team’s third team member, Marco Romeo (’14) was unable to attend the competition due to illness, but his work in preparing the brief and the teams oral arguments was invaluable to the team’s ultimate success.

Kristen and Elizabeth argued on-brief on Friday evening against the team from the University of Miami School of Law, then Kristen quickly switched gears to learn Marco’s argument for Saturday morning. The team had a great second round against the team from Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law. Teams in the Sutherland Cup are not told whether they have won or lost a round, nor are they told their scores during the competition; teams advance not based on their win-loss record but on their aggregate score. Kristen and Elizabeth, who received uniform praise from the judges for their confident and conversational presentation style as well as for their knowledge of the law, scored well enough to advance to the Semifinal round, where they faced a strong team from Georgetown University Law Center, including the student who ultimately won best oralist.

The Semifinal bench was active and skeptical, and both teams faced tough, constant questioning. Ultimately, the team again scored well enough to advance to the Final Round, where they again faced the team from Campbell. The final bench was comprised entirely of appellate litigators, including Stephen Kinnaird, a partner at Paul Hastings who has argued several times before the Supreme Court, and Maureen Mahoney of Latham & Watkins, who has argued before the Supreme Court twenty-one times. The bench was ready with questions, and Kristen and Elizabeth did an impressive job staking out their positions and standing their ground. After a lengthy deliberation, BU Law won the round and the award for Best Team.

"Overall, the experience was great and it was nice to see all of our hard work pay off in the end," says Kristen. "We competed against some really talented teams and got to interact with incredibly accomplished judges."


John J. Gibbons Criminal Procedure Moot Court

Lucy Sun, Sarah Pickering, and Bernadette Reyes (all ’14) competed in the John J. Gibbons Criminal Procedure Moot Court competition at Seton Hall on March 21-22. The team faced a huge field of 44 teams, and argued two issues: first, whether an objection to police entry to search an apartment bars a later search based on a co-tenant’s consent to search, and second, whether the crime of distribution of drugs causing death is a strict liability crime. The team won their first round, against Lincoln Memorial University - Duncan School of Law, as well as their second round, against North Carolina Central University School of Law.

Sarah won the award for fifth best oralist after the preliminary rounds, and the team made the cut to the top 16. They faced the University of Dayton Law School in that Octofinal round and were defeated in a close argument. This is only the second time in six years that the team from BU Law has advanced out of the preliminary rounds in Gibbons, which is one of the most challenging competitions we attend.


Oxford International IP Moot Court

OxfordLynette Elam and Patrick Kenny (both '14) competed in the Oxford International IP Moot at the University of Oxford, on March 20-22. Professor Robert Volk accompanied the team, which was one of only 24 teams, out of 42 that submitted briefs, to be accepted into the competition. The teams traveled from Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Singapore, the U.S. and the United Kingdom to argue a series of issues involving copyright and moral rights.

“The Oxford Competition brings together students from all over the world to argue a copyright issue before panels of experienced barristers and judges," says Professor Volk. "Our students had to adapt to a particularly British style of argumentation, and succeeded admirably."

Beyond the difference in procedural formalities, the rules of the competition allowed for teams to use legal authority from anywhere in the world. Lynette and Patrick overcame this unique challenge and excelled in the competition.

"I thoroughly enjoyed meeting students from other countries, and hearing about how their legal educations differed from ours at Boston University," Lynette says of her experience. "Patrick and I worked extremely hard for this competition, and we were thrilled to see our hard work pay off in the form of several awards!"

Lynette and Patrick won all four of their Preliminary Rounds against tough schools from the London School of Economics, University of Cambridge, University of Nottingham, and Gujarat National Law University. Additionally, Lynette won the award for the fifth best oralist and Patrick won the Sir Nicholas Pumfrey Best Individual Mooter award in the Preliminary Rounds.

The team also won the award for the top-ranked team after the Preliminary Rounds, and moved on to the Quarterfinals, where they faced the team from DePaul University College of Law, the only other American law school in attendance. Lynette and Patrick won that round to advance to the Semifinals, where they faced the team from the University of Hong Kong. They lost in that round, and Hong Kong went on to win the competition.

"At the end of the day, the competition helped us realize that IP law, and Copyright law in particular, really is the wave of the future -- it's one of the few areas of law that is able to respond to changes in technology and the rights of artists and authors in this changed technological landscape," says Patrick.


New England Regional Transactional LawMeet

Transactional LawMeetOn February 28, 2014, 84 teams competed around the country in the regional rounds of the fifth annual Transactional LawMeet. This competition is designed to give law students a hands-on experience that develops and hones their transactional lawyering skills.

Danielle Veilleux and Jake Saifman (both '15) represented BU Law in the New England Regional, along with eleven other teams from schools including Boston College, Georgetown, and Cornell. The event was hosted by Western New England University School of Law in Springfield, Massachusetts. This year's case asked law students to represent one of two sides in drafting and negotiating an indemnification agreement to address a royalty dispute. BU's team represented the seller in the dispute. Over the course of two months, students drafted indemnification agreements, executed interviews with their clients, and marked up opposing teams' drafts. The competition culminated at the regional event with the live negotiations.

Veilleux and Saifman negotiated against teams from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Though they did not advance to the National Rounds, they were named Regional Semi-Finalists and gained valuable hands-on experience. They learned about the conflicts that transactional lawyers handle during the deal-making process and how to navigate these conflicts in order to benefit the client. They also learned a great deal from their exceptional coaches, Lecturer Michael Frankel, Professor and Director Kent Coit, and Assistant Director Karen Carter.

"The LawMeet felt as close to being practicing attorneys as you can get as a student interested in transactional law," says Veilleux. "It was a phenomenal experience that helped hone our drafting and negotiation skills."


ABA Boston Regional National Appellate Advocacy Competition

ABA Boston Regional National Appellate Advocacy Competition
Top row, left to right: Brendan Jarboe, Evan Miller, Grant Gendron
Bottom row, left to right: Chaloea Williams, Georgina Jones Suzuki, Ramon Galiana

BU Law would like to congratulate our two National Appellate Advocacy Teams for their stellar performance this year at the ABA-sponsored Boston Regional National Appellate Advocacy Competition. The team consisting of Brendan Jarboe, Georgina Jones Suzuki, and Evan Miller (all ’14) made it to the final round of the regionals, while the other team, which included Ramon Galiana, Grant Gendron, and Chaloea Williams (all ’14), won their final round and earned a spot at the National Competition in April. Additionally, Williams earned an award for the Fourth Best Oralist overall in the region.

The regional competition took place on March 6-8 at the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse in Boston. The NAAC is one of the largest competitions in the country, with six regionals taking place over three weekends. BU's team is one of four from the region that will compete at the National Competition in Chicago on April 10-12.

The NAAC is one of the most challenging competitions BU Law attends due to the complexity of the problems the ABA creates and the fact that a team needs to either win all three preliminary rounds, or win two of the three rounds by a large margin, to advance to the semifinal round.

The teams faced strong schools in the preliminary rounds, including teams from past National champions and frequent National Finalists such as South Texas College of Law and Texas Tech Law. Jarboe, Jones Suzuki, and Miller won their first preliminary round against Ava Maria by nearly seven-and-a-half points, combining a strong brief score with strong oral advocacy. In their second round, that team faced a very strong team from South Texas, losing that round by less than a point. They had a strong position for the third round, facing the team from Ohio Northern. After winning that round by more than six points, the team made the cut to the semi-final round, which would pit sixteen teams against each other in a single-elimination round, as the seventh seed overall.

Meanwhile, the team of Galiana, Gendron, and Williams won all three of their preliminary rounds. In the first round, they, too, faced and defeated the Ohio Northern team. In the second round, they faced a team from returning champions Texas Tech, and won by nearly seven points. Finally, in the third round, they faced the other team from South Texas and won to put them into the semi-final round as the fifth seed overall.

In the semi-final elimination round, Jarboe, Jones Suzuki, and Miller defeated the team from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, while Galiana, Gendron, and Williams conquered the University of Akron School of Law.

In the final round, the teams found themselves once again facing teams from South Texas and Texas Tech. After a strong final showing for both teams, and a tense wait, the results were announced: the Texas Tech team defeated Jarboe, Jones Suzuki, and Miller, but Galiana, Gendron, and Williams won their round against South Texas and earned a spot at Nationals.

Both teams worked incredibly hard to prepare for the competition, practicing multiple days a week for weeks before the competition. Their composure, knowledge of the law, and ability to answer both tough and confusing questions was clear to every judge that saw them. They represented BU Law well, and we are excited to support them in their bid at Nationals!


New York University Immigration Law Moot Court Competition

On February 21-23, Eileen Morrison and Anita Mohandas (both '15) competed in the NYU Immigration Law Moot Court Competition. The competition focuses on immigration issues and includes areas of administrative law and constitutional law.

On the first day, each team had the opportunity to argue three times – twice on-brief and once off-brief. Facing 17 other teams, the first task assigned to the two students was to write a brief on their own, without help from their coaches. After submitting the brief, teams were allowed to receive assistance as they prepared for oral arguments. The team's first issue dealt with the current case of Matter of Silva-Trevino, which addresses the issue of what evidence may be consulted to determine if a conviction was for a crime involving moral turpitude. In fact, a few days after the team's brief was submitted, the 5th Circuit overturned Matter of Silva-Trevino on direct appeal.

Teams were evaluated with 40% of their score based on the brief and 60% on the argument itself. BU's team advanced to the quarterfinals where they faced a competitor from Baylor University. The issue in this round addressed notice in asylum proceedings, which implicated the 5th Amendment's due process guarantee.  

The team did not advance to the next round, though they learned valuable information about immigration and administrative law and became more confident in their speaking skills. "In our experience with BU moot court, almost the entire oral argument is consumed with questions," says Morrison. "During the competition, we had oral arguments with very few questions, which was more difficult. Although executing three arguments is exhausting, it helped us improve rapidly by allowing us to receive feedback and then immediately improve our argument in the next round."

Congratulations to the team on their excellent performance!


National First Amendment Moot Court Competition

Charlotte Drew and Scott EisenBU Law congratulates the National First Amendment team, Charlotte Drew and Scott Eisen (both '14), on their strong performance at the 2014 National First Amendment Competition on February 20th and February 21st, hosted by Vanderbilt University Law School and the First Amendment Center. This annual event features a current First Amendment controversy. This year’s problem involved two related questions: First, what level of scrutiny – intermediate or strict – applies to a state’s judicial canon’s personal solicitation clause, which restricts a judicial candidate from personally soliciting money in certain contexts? Second, given the state’s purported interest in protecting judicial impartiality and the appearance of judicial impartiality, does the canon survive that level of scrutiny?

The First Amendment competition is unusual in that all teams have the opportunity to argue four times before any eliminations take place, and throughout those four rounds, the teams are at no point told their scores, standing, or the name of the school the opposing team hails from. After the fourth round, however, the field is drastically cut from thirty-two or more teams down to eight. The BU Law team did not make the cut this year, however, one of the teams faced in the preliminary rounds did move on to the top eight, ultimately making the semi-final round, while another competitor was awarded the prize for runner-up Best Oralist. This indicates just how strong BU Law's competition was.

The team had the opportunity to argue before two of the competition’s best-known and high-profile judges: Jan Neuharth, the chair of the Freedom Forum board of trustees, and James Duff, the Forum’s president and chief executive officer.

"The competition provided a unique opportunity to study a specific aspect of First Amendment law, argue in front of incredibly knowledgeable panels of judges, and see how students from other law schools tackled our problem," says Drew. "I know this experience will continue to serve me throughout the remainder of law school and beyond."


Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition

On February 13-16, BU Law competed in the Northeast regional round of the 55th Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in New York City, the world’s largest moot court match. With over 550 schools from more than 80 countries participating, the competition deals with current issues in international law.

At regionals, two members of BU's team argued for the Respondent and two other members argued for the Applicant. "Respondent" and "Applicant" are the names traditionally given to the parties at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The Respondents and Applicants had the opportunity to argue twice in the competition.

Lecturer Aloke Chakravarty led the BU Law team, which included James Wray-Miller '15 and Gabriela Morales '15 for the Applicant, Seth Tremble '15 and Luzia Santos '15 for the Respondent, and Angela Linhardt '15 who helped write and edit briefs and prepare for oral arguments.

To advance to nationals, the competition considered the cumulative points based on oral arguments as well as the scores received on the briefs. After both oral arguments, eight teams advance to the next round where there is less than an hour gap between the time the teams find out if they move on and the time they are required to begin oral arguments. Out of those eight teams, only four advance to the next round and only two qualify for nationals, which are held in Washington, DC.

Twenty-three teams, including local rivals from Harvard, Boston College, Suffolk, and Northeastern, competed in the tournament. Throughout the competition, BU Law faced Columbia, New York University, Suffolk, and University of Connecticut. Though they did not qualify to advance to the next round, the team gained valuable experience and discovered their strengths.

As the competition progressed, the team improved dramatically in their oral arguments. "One of the main things that our team learned in this competition was the value of strong preparation and clear communication at the outset," says team member Luzia Santos. "We also learned how important it is to consider the different styles of oral advocacy and that different competitions emphasize different styles." Even though they did not qualify for the awards, they excelled in writing their briefs, ranking very highly among their peers.

We congratulate the team on their excellent performance and representation of BU Law!


ABA National Negotiation Competition

On February 7th and 8th, Holly Ovington and Jaime Margolis (both '16) competed as a team in the ABA National Negotiation Competition in Chicago.

Their journey to Chicago began in September after being one of two teams to win the internal BU Law Negotiation Competition. Ovington and Margolis then came in second place at the ABA Region 1 Competition in November, and were selected to represent Region 1 at the national competition.

Though they faced second- and third-year law students with more experience under their belts, the BU Law team excelled in the first round and made it through an intense second round, advocating their way to the semifinals along with 15 other top teams.

When Ovington and Margolis read their next scenario, they pulled from their past cases and used their refined skills to cut through the irrelevant issues and evaluate the problem. While they did not move on to the final round with the top four teams, they gave a performance that they were immensely proud of, and they ended their negotiation year on a high note.

The two students were thrilled to reach the semifinal round and benefited greatly from the competition. In addition to the hands-on experience, they gained tools invaluable to their ongoing education and their training as lawyers: self-awareness, confidence, and an evaluation of their own negotiation skills.


Jacksonville Regional ABA Client Counseling Competition

Two Boston University School of Law Client Counseling teams competed at the Regional ABA Client Counseling Competition in Jacksonville, FL on February 8th: Devin Conway and Alex Conlon (both '14) and Hannah Perlman and MacAllistre Henry (both '16).

The 11 teams competed anonymously, not revealing which school they attend. Without knowing exactly who they were facing, the students interacted with their fictional clients and played the role of potential counsel. Each client had a back-story, so each team had to figure out the client's legal issue as well as any potential complications through gentle, but probing, questioning.

Both BU Law teams made it through the first three rounds, but did not advance to the regional semifinals. However, each team received positive and practical feedback from the judges.

Through this experience, the teams learned the importance of observing an attorney-client interaction from the perspective of the client in addition to how to empathize with clients, no matter what their legal issue.

Students also recognized the vital role of developing a rapport with their partners in order to effectively work as a team in client interviews. Overall, both teams left the event with practical feedback and, for the 1L team, a plan to return and succeed in next year's competition.


Boston Regional Mock Trial Competition

Boston Regional Mock Trial Competition
Bottom row left to right: Monisha Chakravarthy (’14), Christie O’Rourke (’15), Liza Ponomarenko (’16). Top row: The Honorable Jack Lu, Andrew Byrd (’15), Silvia Stockman (’16), Jon Lautin (’14)

Two Boston University Mock Trial teams competed at the Boston regional competition, run by the Texas Young Lawyers Association. The competition was hosted by Suffolk University at the Suffolk Superior Courthouse from February 6th to February 9th.

Christie O'Rourke '15 and Silvia Stockman '14 worked as one team, while Andrew Byrd '15 and Liza Ponomarenko '16 represented the other. This team was proud to note that they were one of the only teams, if not the only one, that had a 1L competing.

With twenty-two teams competing, BU's teams faced tough competition. They argued against teams from Quinnipiac University, Suffolk University, University of New Hampshire, University of Maine, and Northeastern University. Both teams excelled in adapting as the competition continued, and taking the judges' advice after each round, putting it to practice in the next. Using their experience from the first two rounds, both teams prevailed in the third round over teams from the University of Maine.

Jonathan Lautin '14, Monisha Chakravarthy '14, and Judge Jack Lu coached the teams and were proud to see them develop their own presentation style that helped them stand out from the other groups.


Chicago Regional ABA Employment Law Mock Trial Competition

bu law mock trial 2013On November 23rd and 24th, the Boston University Mock Trial team had the privilege of competing at the Chicago Regional American Bar Association Employment Law Mock Trial Competition.

Twenty-two teams from across the region competed in preliminary rounds, and BU Law achieved the unprecedented when both of its teams made it to the semfinals after achieving the two highest scores of the entire preliminary rounds. One team (Christine O’Rourke '15, Greg Gambill '14, Tae Lee '14, and Lauria Chin '15) narrowly lost that round on a split-vote decision presided over by the Honorable Judge Kennelly of the Northern District of Illinois. However, the other team (Thomas Markey '15, Silvia Stockman '16, Liza Ponomarenko '16, and Andrew Byrd '15) made it onto the final round after, arguing in front of the Honorable Judge Epstein of the First District, Fourth Division of Illinois Appellate Court.

The Honorable Judge Pallmeyer of the Northern District of Illinois presided over another close trial in the final round, with the opposing team from Washington University narrowly achieving a single extra ballot over BU Law’s excellent advocates. Coaches Judge Jack Lu, Jon Lautin '14, Alex Conlon '14, and Jeffrey Kiok '15 could not be more proud of this astonishingly strong performance, especially in light of many hurdles that arose on the way to this tournament. They would like to thank the Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy Program as well as the Trial Advocacy and Clinical Program for supporting us throughout this process.


Region I National Moot Court Competition

Sesi Garimella, Kristen Hughes, & Lauren Stoia
L to R: Kristen Hughes, Sesi Garimella, Lauren Stoia

Congratulations to Sesi Garimella, Kristen Hughes, and Lauren Stoia (all '14) on a strong performance at the Region 1 National Moot Court competition, sponsored by the New York City Bar and America College of Trial Lawyers, and hosted by Suffolk University Law School on November 16-17. They competed against eight other teams in this regional match.

This year’s problem involved a state law that imposed two requirements on bottled and canned beverage retailers and bottlers.

The team faced two very strong teams in the preliminary rounds. In the first round, Hughes and Garimella argued in support of the Petitioner, the governor, against the team from Western New England. The team received higher scores on the oral argument component of the round, but WNEC’s high brief score gave them the edge and they won the round. In the second round, Garimella and Stoia argued for Respondent, the beverage manufacturers and retailers. Once again, they had the higher oral argument score, but Syracuse had an exceptional brief score and won the round.

Although our team did not advance to the national round, their extremely high oral scores were impressive, and the received high praise from the judges in each of their rounds. We congratulate them on their efforts!


Edward C. Stone Moot Court Competition

Please join BU Law in congratulating this year’s participants in the Edward C. Stone Moot Court competition.

Joseph McClellan, Alex Nagorniy, Gabriela Morales, Diego Perez Ara, Sarah Won and James Puddington were awarded Best Brief for their respective problems. In addition, Jacquelyn Rex, Jeffrey Kiok, and Abed Bhuyan were awarded Best Oralist.

Additional recognition is in order for the 32 students invited to participate in the 2014 Homer Albers Prize compeition in the spring:

Abed Bhuyan
Lisa Bothwell
Corbin Carter
Stephanie Cipolla
Rebecca Cushing
Juliaana DiGesu
Brendan Evans
Thomas Foley
Caleb French
Thomas Fryska
Jordana Goodman
Peter Grupp
Albert Heng
Ksenya Hentisz
Michael Kaplan
Jeffrey Kiok
Justin Marble
Thomas Markey
Samantha Maurer
Joseph McClellan
Gabriela Morales
Monica Narang
Bryan Noonan
Diego Perez Ara
Kevin Pezua
James Puddington
Jacquelyn Rex
Sean Rosenthal
Leah Scheucher
Rosa Sierra
Daniel Storms
Sarah Won


Congratulations to all of the participants in this year's particularly strong competition!


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