Posted: November 23rd, 2015
On Saturday, November 21, the Wake Forest National Moot Court Team of Robert Angle (’16), Lauren Emery (’16), and Kaitlin Price (’16) won the Region IV Tournament, going 5-0 against five different law schools and finishing first out of twenty-one teams from twelve law schools.
The team also won the Best Brief Award after its brief received the highest score of the twenty-one briefs.
Price won the award for the best oralist, thereby earning the team every possible award given at the tournament.
The National Moot Court Region IV Tournament is open to law schools in Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. This year teams from the following law schools competed: Campbell, Duke, Elon, George Mason, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Richmond, Wake Forest, Washington and Lee, West Virginia, and William and Mary. The competition was held in the Fourth Circuit courthouse in Richmond, Virginia.
This year’s hypothetical problem involves a criminal prosecution for insider trading and is similar to a recent Second Circuit case, United States v. Newman. The problem is set in the Supreme Court, with the Petitioner being the United States and the Defendant being Dana DiNofrio, a stockbroker who was convicted of insider trading before the Thirteenth Circuit reversed the conviction and ordered a new trial based both on the jury instructions and on excluded grand jury testimony of an unavailable witness.
In each match, a team’s oral argument score counts for 60% of the final score and its brief score counts for 40%. The Angle-Emery-Price team won both of Friday’s preliminary rounds, earning a spot in the eight-team elimination rounds. On Friday morning, Angle and Price argued for the Respondent and defeated a team from Elon, while in the afternoon Emery and Price argued on behalf of the Petitioner and defeated a team from Louisville that had the second-best brief score. That round featured as “hot” a bench as one will ever encounter. On Saturday morning, the team defeated a team from Campbell to reach the semi-finals and a team from University of North Carolina (which had the third-best brief score) to reach the finals. In both of those Saturday morning rounds, Emery and Price argued for the Petitioner United States.
In the final round on Saturday afternoon, the team faced a Washington and Lee team, with Angle and Price arguing for the Respondent DiNofrio. The four judges for the final round included two justices of the Virginia Supreme Court and two federal district court judges from Virginia. They ruled that the Angle-Price team had won and that Price was the best oralist of the final round.
By winning the Region IV Tournament, the team earned a spot in the National Moot Court Finals, when the top two teams from all fifteen regions will compete in New York City on February 9-12. This is the third straight year in which Wake Forest has won the Region IV Tournament, and the second straight in which Wake Forest has won the regional Best Brief award.
The other Wake Forest team, consisting of Josh Bussen (’16), Elizabeth Ruocco (’16), and Mackenzie Salenger (’16), also did well. The team defeated a team from West Virginia on Friday morning before narrowly falling on Friday afternoon to the Washington and Lee team that finished second.
The teams are very grateful for all the support they received from numerous fellow students, alumni and other attorneys, and faculty members who judged practice arguments. Student judges were Joey Greener (’16) and Alexis Iffert (’16). Alumni and attorney judges were Jon Berkelhammer, Steve Berlin (’84), Nicole Dupre (’10), Randall Galyon (’96), Pat Kane (’07), Lorin Lapidus (’04), Steve Loew (’91), Luke Macdowall (’11), Caroline Massagee (’14), Zoe Niesel (’12), and Gordon Widenhouse (’81). Several of the alumni judges were on the National Moot Court Team during their 3L year. Faculty judges were Professor Emeritus Billings and Professors Garland, Gokhale, Graham, Lentz (twice), Lloyd, Mewhinney, Morrow, Palmiter, Peeples, Rabil, Verstein and Wright. The teams’ advisors were Professor John Korzen and Professor Charles Rose.