Competition Results

2013-2014 Annual Alumni Newsletter

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Moot Court Newsletter

Lauren Emery (’16) wins 43rd annual George K. Walker Moot Court Competition

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Alexis Iffert & Lauren Emery with Dean Morant at the competition

Lauren Emery (’16)  won the 43rd annual George K. Walker Moot Court Competition final round held at Wake Forest University School of Law on Thursday, April 17.

The final round showcases the top two first-year law students in the moot court competition. Arguing a fictitious case about whether a university’s refusal to field a women’s golf team violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Emery was representing Plaintiff Pamela Powell.

Alexis Iffert (’16) represented the Defendant Dobson Technical University.

The distinguished panel of judges included Christine Bishoff (’04) of the North Carolina Justice Center and formerly of the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, Judge Jim Gale of the North Carolina Business Court and Professor Rhoda Billings (’66), a retired Wake Forest Law professor who became Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court in 1985 and served as the first female president of the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA). Billings received the university’s highest honor, the Medallion of Merit, during the Founders’ Day Convocation on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013.

The judges were highly complimentary of both finalists.

“We asked some very hard questions and I was very impressed,” Bishoff said before the decision was announced.  ”Overall you both did a great job.”

Gale added, “That you did well in this case is extraordinary. I hope you have a true appreciation for the process and I hope you have tremendous respect for each other. It’s also difficult for us as judges to feel like we gave you a fair opportunity. We’re intimated when we see the quality of the students when we come here.”

Billings said, “This was a hot bench with all three of us trying to ask you questions at once. Your ability to be composed and responsive under these circumstance means no bench is going to trip you up.”

The competition came down to less than a one point difference, according to Billings.

The summary of the case that was at issue follows:

Plaintiff Pamela Powell, a sophomore at Dobson Technical University (“DTU”), contacted Matthew Grover, the athletic director at DTU, via letter, requesting the creation of a women’s varsity golf team. DTU is a four year, accredited educational institution and a recipient of federal funding. There are 4,010 students enrolled at DTU, with female students comprising 52% of the student body, and 47.06% of DTU’s 408 student-athletes are female. Currently, DTU has nine men’s athletic teams and eight women’s athletic teams. DTU surveys all of its students “every couple of years” regarding various aspects of its athletic program. Prior to Ms. Powell, no DTU student had ever expressed interest in a women’s varsity golf team. After receiving Ms. Powell’s letter, two other students contacted Mr. Grover by phone to inquire about a women’s varsity golf team. Mr. Grover stated that these two students did not provide enough information for him to determine whether they would be able to compete on the intercollegiate level, although he described one of the students as similar to Ms. Powell in terms of experience. Mr. Grover also stated that DTU does not have enough funding for the addition of women’s varsity golf, and that the only way DTU could free up the funds to add a women’s golf team would be to cut a men’s athletic team. Ms. Powell and her personal coach believe she has the potential to play golf on the LPGA if she has the opportunity to develop her game through playing on a women’s varsity team.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 provides that federally funded education programs or activities cannot exclude from participation, discriminate against, or deny benefits to any person on the basis of sex. On November 19, 2013, after Mr. Grover informed Ms. Powell that DTU had decided not to field a women’s varsity golf team, she filed a Title IX action in the District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The Court found, as a matter of law, that the 5 percent disparity between male and female student-athletes enrolled at Defendant establishes a lack of substantial proportionality between the sexes. Both parties have filed motions for summary judgment.

The question before the Court is whether DTU’s refusal to field a women’s golf team violates Title IX. The first issue is whether DTU has fully and effectively accommodated its female athletes. If DTU has not, the second issue is whether DTU can prove an affirmative defense of a history and continuing practice of program expansion.

The event, which is held each spring for first-year law students, fielded 111 initial competitors. Each student wrote a brief and argued twice, once “on-brief” and once “off-brief.” After two weeks, 21 students were invited to join Moot Court, and the top 16 competed in the following week in an elimination tournament leading up to the final round.

Emery was not the only student to take home an award. Distinctions for Best Brief, Best Oralist, including runners up, and the Debbie Parker Memorial Moot Court Service Award were also awarded.

Elissa Hachmeister won the Best Brief award, while Lauren Emery was the runner-up. The Best Oralist award went to Alexis Iffert, with Catherine Law earning runner-up. The Debbie Parker Moot Court Service Award went to Michael Bixby (’14).

The 2014 Walker Moot Court Competition co-chairs are Jasmine Pitt (’15) and Stephen Frost (’15).

Other new first-year members of the Moot Court Board are Anastasia Bond, Joshua Bussen, Carrie Daniel, Meredith FitzGibbon, Kayla Frederickson, Alicha Grubb, Elissa Hachmeister, Cheslie Kryst, Catherine Law, Ryan McIntyre, Daniel Menken, Blaydes Moore, Kaitlin Price, Elizabeth Ruocco, Mackenzie Salenger, Rachel Shields, Ashley Sims, Emily Singer, and Olivia Stidham.

For  more than 40 years, the Wake Forest Moot Court Board has conducted a moot court competition for first-year law students. In 1998, the Moot Court Board named this competition the George K. Walker Moot Court Competition in honor of Professor George Walker’s long-standing support of the Wake Forest Moot Court program.

The Debbie Parker Moot Court Service Award is an honor granted to either a member of the Moot Court Board or a participant in the Walker Moot Court Competition who exemplifies throughout the competition a spirit of dedication and service to Wake Forest University School of Law, as well as compassion and cooperation with his or her fellow students.

Dean Blake D. Morant added that “here at Wake Forest Law students are at the center of what we do. I am so proud of our oral advocates and the job they did today. The Moot Court Board also did an awesome job. There are no losers today, there are only winners.”

 

Constitutional Law Moot Court Team Participates in Billings, Exum, & Frye National Moot Court Competition

The Wake Forest Constitutional Law Moot Court Team, consisting of Chris Edwards, Justin Jenkins, and Katelin Kennedy, executed a solid performance at the Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition hosted by Elon law school this past weekend. While the team was unfortunately eliminated after the third round, it represented Wake Forest well in rounds against South Texas College of Law, Florida Coastal School of Law, and William & Mary School of Law.
This year’s Elon problem was multifaceted, and contemplated at least five separate, major legal issues. Although the case was set in the United States Supreme Court, three of the issues were questions of pure state law which fall outside the Court’s subject matter jurisdiction. The Wake team devoted its brief to addressing the federal questions in the case. Since Wake did not receive its brief back with comments, it is not clear how Wake’s tactical decision to address only those questions over which the Court had jurisdiction may have impacted the final brief score.
Katelin and Chris took on South Texas College of Law, last year’s semifinalists, in Round 1. Chris smoothly set forth Respondent’s affirmative case while effectively rebutting points made by the other team. Katelin provided responsive and instructive answers to the Court’s questions, and also explained how the Court had no jurisdiction to hear state law issues. In rebuttal, the other team made the surprising point that our team’s failure to address one of the state law issues was evidence that we had no case.
In Round 2, Katelin and Justin represented Petitioner against last year’s first place team, Florida Coastal School of Law. Katelin withstood a barrage of questions from a bench that was lukewarm with me but increased in temperature for her argument. Round 3 saw Katelin and Justin facing off against William & Mary. Based on our experience in Round 1, our team made a point in the other rounds of citing chapter and verse of the U.S. Code (specifically 12 U.S.C. 1257) to disclaim any power of the Court to hear state law appeals.
In the third preliminary round, Elon pairs teams with the same win-loss records from the first two rounds. So with presumably the same win-loss record as Wake, William & Mary defeated Wake and broke into octo-finals.
The Wake team worked hard and competed hard. They are grateful for all of the Board’s assistance in arranging practice rounds with faculty and students.

Gabrielli Family Law Moot Court Team Competes in Albany, New York

John Blanchard (’15), Aimee Durant (’15) and Caroline Massagee (’15) represented the Wake Forest Moot Court Board in the Gabrielli Family Law Moot Court Competition. The competition took place February 27-March 1 in Albany, New York.  DeanReynolds coached the Gabrielli Family Law team.

The Gabrielli competition is unique due to the fact that most teams argue anonymously throughout the competition.  In the preliminary rounds, Durant and Blanchard argued against ‘Ole Miss, and Durant and Blanchard argued against an anonymous team.  The team advanced through the preliminary rounds, and ranked third in the competition after these rounds.  In the next round, Durant and Blanchard argued and advanced their team to the Quarterfinalist round.  In the Quarterfinalist round, Durant and Massagee argued against Louisiana State University.  Although the team did not advance to the Finals round, Durant, Blanchard, and Massagee represented Wake Forest University well in the Gabrielli competition! We would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication to the Moot Court Board and the competition.

Wake Law Moot Court Team Advances to Regional Finals of the National Appellate Advocacy Competition

Michael Bixby ('14), Pat Naples ('14) and Jim Miller ('15)

Michael Bixby (’14), Pat Naples (’14) and Jim Miller (’15)

Michael Bixby (’14), Jim Miller (’15), and Pat Naples (’14) represented the Wake Forest University School of Law Moot Court Board at the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition regional rounds held at the United States District Court in Washington, D.C. Thirty-six teams and approximately one-hundred individuals competed this past weekend. Wake’s team advanced to become a regional finalist in the D.C. region.

The team performed exceptionally well throughout the competition, going undefeated in the preliminary rounds against William & Mary, Wayne State, and Regent University. After preliminaries the Wake Law team ranked as one of the top teams, and the team faced George Mason in the semifinal round. The team won the five judge panel for semi-finals on a 4-1 decision to advance to the finals.

Wake Forest faced Georgetown in the regional final. Georgetown’s oralists both ranked in the top four in the competition. The final round was judged by a five judge panel solely on the competitors’ oral arguments. Wake Forest lost the final round by a razor thin 3-2 margin with just a few points separating the two teams. The Chief Justice for the final round, who has judged the competition for more than a decade, commented that the round between Wake and Georgetown was the closest final round he had seen.

The ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition is the largest Moot Court competition in the United States. The competition was based on the fictional case in front of the Supreme Court of the United States, Braverman & Rizzoli, LLP v. Amber Holt. The problem revolved around the scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and the status of a law student intern at a for-profit law firm under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The team drafted a brief on behalf of the petitioner, Braverman & Rizzoli, LLP. However, they argued on behalf of the petitioner and respondent throughout the competition. Bixby and Miller participated in the oral arguments related to the CFAA issue on behalf of the respondent. Naples took on the difficult task of representing both the respondent and petitioner on the FLSA issue.

The team especially wants to thank Professor Zoe Niesel who served as an advisor and coach for the team. The team also thanks professors and local alumni who helped prepare the team with practice oral arguments.

Jessup Moot Court Team Competes in Washington, D.C.

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Davis Phillips (’15), Gustin Vandiford (’15), Andrew Parrish (’15) and Karon Fowler (’15) in front of the White House in Washington, DC

Karon Fowler (’15), Andrew Parrish (’15), Davis Phillips (’15), Gustin Vandiford  (’15) and Team Captain Michael Bixby (’14) represented the Wake Forest Moot Court Board in the 55th annual Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. The Jessup competition is the largest moot court competition in the world. The Mid-Atlantic competition took place February 20-23 at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Professor George Walker coached the Jessup team.

The Jessup Team won a brief award for the 6th best brief in the Mid-Atlantic competition. Karon Fowler placed 13th, Andrew Parrish placed 38th, and Davis Phillips placed 45th among oralists, and approximately one hundred individuals in total competed in the Mid Atlantic competition. The 2014 problem addressed issue of maritime salvage, hot pursuit, and criminal jurisdiction in international law.

Wake Forest University’s Jessup Team competed against American University, Georgetown University, West Virginia University, and Temple University in the preliminary rounds. The teams Wake Forest faced all ranked within the top ten at the end of the competition, and Wake’s competitors had the top two briefs in the entire competition. At the end of the preliminary rounds, Wake Forest’s Jessup Team ranked seventh of all teams competing in terms of raw points, but due to the tough teams they faced were unable to advance.  Although the team did not advance to the finals, Fowler, Parrish, Phillips, and Vandiford represented Wake Forest well with their diligent preparation and substantive knowledge of international law. The University of Virgnia won the Mid-Atlantic regional and West Virginia University came in second place.

The Jessup Team thanks all of the students, faculty, and alumni who took time to read the briefs and competition materials and who helped them practice oral arguments. The Moot Court Board is proud of the team and thank them for representing the Wake Forest University School of Law so well!

 

National Moot Court Team Attends Finals Competition in New York City

The National Moot Court Team travelled to New York City, NY on Monday, February 10, 2014 to compete in the National Moot Court Competition Finals.  The team, consisting of Austen Irrobali, Justin May, and Lindsay Watson, came in first place in the regional competition in Richmond, Virginia last November.

The team competed first on February 10th against Loyola University, when Justin May and Austen Irrobali competed representing the Respondent.  On Feburary 11th, Austen Irrobali and Lindsay Watson competed against Michigan State University College of Law, representing the Petitioner.  In both rounds, the judges were highly complementary of the team’s mastery of the problem materials and their oral argument skills.  Lindsay received specific praise for her ability to explain the legal concepts clearly and defend her position.  Justin and Austen were complemented on their thorough knowledge of the topic.

The team narrowly lost their first round against Loyola, due in large part to a small difference in brief scores.  The team won the judges in their second round against Michigan State, and also had a higher brief score.  Unfortunately, the team did not qualify for the elimination rounds by a very slim margin, only 0.3 points.  The team rounded out their trip by exploring and having fun in New York City, which included visiting the Museum of Modern Art and going to the Broadway musical Phantom of the Opera.

The Moot Court Board would like to thank Lindsay Watson, Justin May, and Austen Irrobali for all of their hard work and dedication to this team.  As the first National Moot Court team to make it to the national competition in years, we are all very proud of their success.  We would also like to thank the National Moot Court Team  coach, Professor Korzen, for his hard work and dedication to this team.

Wake Forest Team Competes in Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition

Melissa Bryson, Zachary Dunn, and JD Wooten represented the Wake Forest Moot Court Board at the Stetson International Environmental Law Moot Court Competition in Denver, Colorado on January 24-25, 2014 at the Strum School of Law, University of Denver.  Their problem involved a dispute between two fictitious nations over international obligations under various treaties and customary law regarding the protection of endangered sea turtles.  The problem essentially required balancing human rights issues related to the cultural practices of a former slave population who hunt the sea turtles as a rite of passage on the one hand, and protecting the severely endangered sea turtles from extinction on the other hand.  The team argued a total of four rounds, twice on behalf of protecting the sea turtles and twice on behalf of the cultural and human rights.  The team presented solid arguments in each of those rounds, even beating Kansas University who had the best written memorial score.  Unfortunately, their other adversaries prevailed, including U.C. Hastings College of the Law, which went on to win the entire North American regional competition.  Other teams Wake Forest competed against were Pace University and Howard University.

Karon Fowler (’15) winner of the 42nd annual Edwin M. Stanley Moot Court Competition

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Aimee Durant (’15) and Karon Fowler (’15)

Karon Fowler (’15) is the winner of the final round of the 42nd annual Stanley Moot Court Competition sponsored by the Wake Forest University School of Law Moot Court Board.

The finalists in the Stanley Moot Court competition were Karon Fowler (’15) and Aimee Durant (’15). Fowler represented the appellant, Nicole Swisher, vs. Durant, who represented the Appellee Bronx Bombers.

The 2013 final involved one issue of state tort law and one issue of federal civil procedure.  Plaintiff Nicole Swisher was injured by a foul ball at a minor league baseball stadium in Maryland that was owned by Defendant Bronx Bombers, LLC, The Worrell Warriors (a minor league team) and designed by Jeter & Rivera, LLC (an architectural firm).  The plaintiff was in a children’s play area located in a ballpark concourse, watching her 4-year-old twins, when she was hit by the foul ball.

This year’s panel judges were the Honorable Stephanie Thacker,  Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit; the Honorable Frank Whitney, Chief District Judge, U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina; and Michael D. Green, Professor, Wake Forest University School of Law.

“It was a fabulous competition, you were both very impressive,” Thacker said following the oral arguments held on Friday, Nov. 22, in the Worrell Professional Center. “I know that this is not something I could have done when I was in law school, so congratulations for participating in this competition. You both had such confidence. Some of the best oral advocates I’ve ever seen came from Wake Forest law school, and you were great examples for the school.”

Whitney added that the finalists did a great job of constructing their oral arguments. “The art of oral argument is not something that we see as much anymore, but the two of you did as well as any attorneys that have appeared before me, and you were so well prepared,” he said.

Professor Green added that it was an interesting case.

The competition chairpersons were Rebeca Echevarria (’14) and A’tolani Akinkuotu (’14).

Douglas Walters (’15) was named best oralist and the winner of the James C. Berkowitz Award, which was presented by the Berkowitz family. James died in a car accident when he was returning to the law school to argue in the quarterfinals of the 1984 Stanley Competition. Kelsey Meuret (’15) was runner-up for best oralist.

Stephen Frost (‘15) received the award for best brief. Runner-up for best brief was Evan Leadem (’15)

Sixteen finalists and two honorable mention Stanley Competition participants were invited to join the Moot Court Board.  While many of these participants were already on the Moot Court Board, several were invited to join this year, including Aimee Durant, Chris Edwards, Kimberly Sokolich, Jasmine Pitt, Kelly Russo, Katelin Kennedy, Douglas Walters and Jordan Dongell.

Dean Blake D. Morant commented on the competition after thanking the judges and the Moot Court Board. “These oral advocates have done a splendid job of showing the success of our oral advocates here at Wake Forest Law,” he said.

The intramural moot court competition is named in honor of the late Judge Edwin M. Stanley, a distinguished Wake Forest alumnus and supporter, who served as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Middle District of North Carolina from 1958-1968. This year 51 students competed in the competition, according to organizers.

National Moot Court Teams wins Regional Competition!

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Professor Korzen, Lindsay Watson (’14), Austen Irrobali (’14) and Justin May (’14)

The Wake Forest National Moot Court Team of Austen Irrobali (’14), Justin May (’14) and Lindsay Watson (’14) won the regional tournament held on Saturday, Nov. 16, in Richmond, Va.  As a result, the team advanced to the national finals to be held in New York City on Feb. 10-13.  In addition, Irrobali won the “Best Oralist in the Final Round” award.

The team went 5-0 over two days to claim the top spot.  Twenty-one teams from 12 different law schools competed.  In the preliminary rounds held on Friday, Nov. 15, Wake Forest defeated a team from Campbell and a team from the University of North Carolina, finishing 2-0 and seeded second for the elimination rounds.  On Saturday, Nov. 16, Wake Forest defeated a team from the University of Richmond in the quarterfinals and a team from William & Mary in the semifinals.  The match against the Richmond team was extremely close; after the brief scores and oral argument scores were factored in, Wake Forest edged Richmond by only 0.05 of a point.  Wake Forest benefitted from having the third-best brief score out of the 21 teams.

The finals pitted Wake Forest against Regent University before a five-judge panel of federal and state judges.  Regent had earned the best brief score and was also the defending champion of the regional.  After an argument that the presiding judge noted was “very closely matched,” the team and best oralist awards were announced.

The team earned the awards through much hard work and a strong love for advocacy.  After completing their brief on Oct. 18, the team had 10 formal practices before a mixture of judges composed of faculty members, including their adviser, Professor John Korzen; alumni; and fellow 3Ls.

The problem for this year’s National Moot Court Competition, which is in its 64th year, involves a First Amendment challenge and a dormant Commerce Clause challenge to state statutes regarding the advertising and bottling of sugar-sweetened beverages.