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Moot Court Team enjoys successful year in competition

  • Moot Court Team
    Moot Court Team  With six team wins and several individual member titles, 2010-11 has been one of the best years on record for the Moot Court Team.  Photo by Colonial Photography
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With six team wins and several individual member titles, the 2010-11 academic year has been one of the best on record for the William & Mary Law School Moot Court Team.

The team is led primarily by students. Brad Bartels '11 serves as the Chief Justice of the Moot Court Team. He works with the executive board to select new members, organize events, and ensure that team members are adequately prepared for competitions through coursework and practice sessions.

The team’s leadership attributes this year’s success to strong preparation, improved brief writing skills, and excellent team pairings. “Alyssa Miller '11, the Lead Tournament Justice, organized almost all of the tournament pairings and she did a great job combining team members with tournament topics,” said Bartels. “Team members participated in more tournaments than ever before, which enabled the team to gain a great deal of experience that was pivotal in the team’s success,” he added.

In addition to its dedicated leadership, the team benefits from an experienced advisor, Ben Hatch, an assistant United States Attorney in Norfolk, Va. After the previous advisor, Douglas Miller, was appointed as a United State Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia, Hatch helped to further the program that was improved greatly under Miller.  Hatch assists primarily with brief-writing skills and teaches a course that all members are required to complete before they are eligible to compete in tournaments. “Ben has been a tremendous boon to our brief writing skills, as well as our overall oral advocacy skills,” Bartels said. 

“Ben Hatch is very dedicated to the team,” said Kyle Elliott '11, the team’s Bushrod Justice. “Brief writing is one of the most important parts of the competitions, and he has really put a focus on making sure we write strong briefs.” 

As the Bushrod Justice, Elliott oversees the annual Bushrod Tournament, in which first- and second-year law students compete for spots on the Moot Court Team. For three weeks, they compete in an intramural competition that simulates Supreme Court arguments. The judges score each student, and then rank students according to their performance. This ranking is one factor in determining which competitions the new members will attend on behalf of the team. The top eight students typically qualify for the national tournament. 

“Team success starts with writing an excellent problem that tests the oral advocacy skills of our competitors, ensuring that we build the best team possible,” Elliott said.

The six team wins took place throughout the country at the Vanderbilt First Amendment Competition, the American Bar Association Regional Tournament for Nationals, the Regent University Moot Court Competition, the Charleston National Moot Court Competition, the International Criminal Court Moot Court Competition, and most recently, at the John J. Gibbons National Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition at Seton Hall.

A team comprised of Brandon Boxler '11, Stephen Barry '11, and Chris Healy '11 won the ABA Regional Tournament for Nationals.  Barry won an award for “Best Oralist” and the team won “Best Brief” as well.  The team advanced to the national tournament in New York as a result of its success at the regional level.

Other students who won “Best Oralist” honors throughout the year include Courtney Mills '11 (First Amendment Tournament at American University); Chris Healy '11 (Criminal Procedure Tournament at Seton Hall); Laura Brymer '12 (International Criminal Court Moot Court Competition); James Evans '12 (American Bar Association Tournament); and Richard Clausi '12 (Charleston Tournament).

Chris Bettis '11, Maggie Brunner '11, and Laura Brymer '12, the students who won at the International Criminal Court Moot Court Competition, advanced to The Hague for the final round of a worldwide competition. The event was held April 10-15. In all, 21 teams from around the world competed. The William & Mary team clinched a spot by placing first in a preliminary competition hosted on January 28-30 by Pace University Law School in New York.

New members of the team from the class of 2012 are Madelyn Buckley, Andrea Nixon, Rakesh Parikh, Emily Riggs, and Valentine Uduebor. New members of the team from the class of 2013 are Andrea Booden, Jess Delaney, Laura Doore, Lauren Fibel, Rachel Gillen, Bryan Gividen, James Gross, Candace Headen, Justin Mahramas, Barb Marmet, Alex O'Dell, Alison Rabe, Alexa Roggenkamp, Reid Schweitzer, Nicolis Singer, Michelle Sudano, Tessa Vinson, Melanie Walter, Katherine Ward, and Ashley Wright.