Competition Results

National Moot Court Teams wins Regional Competition!


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.

Josh Adams (’15) wins 42nd annual George K. Walker Moot Court Competition!

Josh Adams (’15)  won the 42nd annual George K. Walker Moot Court Competition final round held at Wake Forest University School of Law on Friday, April 19.

The final round showcases the top two first-year law students in the moot court competition.

Arguing a fictitious case about whether a woman is entitled to keep the engagement ring after the engagement is called off, Adams was able to successfully argue in favor of the plaintiff Percy Pettigrew. Fellow first-year law student Kelsey Meuret represented the defendant Denise Daniels.

The distinguished panel of judges included The Honorable Joi E. Peake, U.S. Magistrate Judge, Middle District of North Carolina; The Honorable James L. Gale, Special Superior Court Judge, North Carolina Business Court; and Suzanne Reynolds (’77), Executive Associate Dean of Academic Affairs; Professor of Law.

The judges were highly complimentary of both finalists.

“It took us a long time to decide because it was so close,” Judge Reynolds explained. “Mr. Adams I was really impressed with your argument because I thought Ms. Meuret had the law behind her. You made best on what I thought was a difficult argument.”

Judges Gale and Peake added that they both represented Wake Forest well.

“You both did a fantastic job and it was a great argument,” Judge Peake said. “Ms. Meuret I thought you did a good job framing your argument.”

The summary of the case that was at issue follows:

The Plaintiff Percy Pettigrew met the Defendant Denise Daniels while he was attending Hampden-Sydney in Virginia. The two began dating and fell in love. Six months later, Pettigrew proposed to Daniels, giving her what he alleges is his grandmother’s family heirloom engagement ring. The next semester, Daniels was forced to leave Hollins University to take care of her seriously ill mother in North Carolina. Daniels did not return to Hollins that semester.

After moving back home, Daniels heard rumors that Pettigrew was dating her old roommate at Hollins University. Pettigrew then broke off his engagement with Daniels by changing his Facebook status from “in a relationship” to “single.” When Pettigrew requested his grandmother’s engagement ring back from Daniels, Daniels refused to return the ring because it reminded her of “his better side.”

The question before this Court is which party is entitled to keep the engagement ring after the engagement is called off. The first issue is whether the engagement ring is an unconditional gift or a conditional gift, conditioned upon the marriage actually occurring. If the ring is a conditional gift, the second issue is whether the Court should consider who was at fault for breaking the engagement off when determining who is entitled to keep the engagement ring.

The event, which is held each spring for first-year law students, fielded 86 initial competitors. Each student wrote a brief and argued twice, once “on-brief” and once “off-brief.” After two weeks, 19 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.

Adams 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.

Davis Phillips won the Best Brief award, while Josh Adams was the runner-up. The Best Oralist award went to Lauren Richburg, with Kelsey Meuret and Andrew Parrish earning runners-up. The Debbie Parker Moot Court Service Award went to Dylan Greenwood.

The 2013 Walker Moot Court Competition co-chairs are Linda Boss and Lindsay Watson. “We really appreciate everyone who participated,” Boss said. “We thought you all did a great job.”

Other new first-year members of the Moot Court Board are John Blanchard, Melissa Bryson, Zachary Dunn, Karon Fowler, Stephen Frost, Tee Hassold, Evan Leadem, Brooke Loucks, Caroline Massagee, Jim Miller, Andrew Parrish, Davis Phillips, Lauren Richburg, William Vandiford, Ashley Waring, J.D. Wooten, and Christine York.

For 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.

Josh Adams (’15) and Kelsey Meuret (’15)

Wake Forest wins individual first place and team honors at Billings Exum Frye National Moot Court Competition!

Justin Jenkins (’14) and Nathan Harrill (’14)

The Wake Forest Moot Court team consisting of Bethany Corbin (’14), Nathan Harrill (’14), and Justin Jenkins (’14) went 4-1 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Billings Exum Frye National Moot Court Competition hosted by Elon Law School on April 5-6.

Harrill earned the award of First Place, Best Oral Advocate for the three preliminary rounds.  More than 100 law students presented oral arguments in the preliminary rounds, making Harrill’s achievement as the best oral advocate especially impressive.

Thirty-five teams from law schools around the country – including such Moot Court powers as Texas Tech, South Texas, Florida Coastal, and Regent – participated in the competition, which is named for three former Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of North Carolina.  This year’s problem had two criminal law issues, including whether a search of the defendant’s home violated the Fourth Amendment, and whether the defendant’s possession of a sawed-off shotgun counted as a predicate offense under the Armed Career Criminal Act.

The Wake Forest team went undefeated in the three preliminary rounds, topping teams from William & Mary (which won the competition last year), Charlotte, and Florida State.  In two of those rounds, the Wake Forest team would not have won without having the better brief score, showing the importance of a great brief.  Then, in the first elimination round, Wake Forest bested a team from Florida Coastal by only 11/100 of a point, and again it was the brief that made the difference.  Finally, in the quarterfinal round, the Wake Forest team was eliminated, by a team from South Texas.  Due to pairings and coin tosses, the Wake Forest team had to argue “off brief” in four of its five matches.  The “off brief” side seemed more difficult factually and legally, making the team’s 4-1 record even more impressive.

“I have never seen a moot court team work so well together, and I could not be more proud of them,” said Professor John Korzen, the team’s coach.  “From day one, they planned the work, worked the plan, and produced an excellent brief that earned a very high score.  As oral advocates, they were just as impressive.  They are true professionals who represented Wake Forest in the best possible way.”

The team appreciated and benefitted from practice argument judging by Professors Ron Wright and Bill Marsh; alumni Luke MacDowell and Katie Serfas; and 3Ls Rory Agan, Kelley Chan, Laura Esseesse, Melissa Evett, John Forneris, Dylan Greenwood, Hillary Kies, and Morgan McCall.

Results from the Gabrielli Family Law Competition!

On February 27-March 2, 2013, Erin Blackwell (’14), Candace Cain (’14), and Nathan Kupka (’14) traveled to Albany, New York to participate in the 25th Annual Domenick L.Gabrielli National Family Law Moot Court Competition held at Albany Law School. The team competed against 24 other teams from law schools around the country. The topic of their argument was the constitutionality of removing a morbidly obese child from her mother on a theory of child neglect. The team successfully advanced to the Quarterfinal round of the competition. The judges were particularly impressed with the team’s knowledge of the law and their interpersonal skills. The winner of the entire competition was Widener University School of Law: Wilmington.

Wake Forest Team Competes in the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition

Last weekend, Michael Bixby, Ebbie Yazdani-Zonoz, Lauren Timmons, Jennifer Skinner and Team Captain Nick Harper represented Wake Forest in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Competition of the Philip C. Jessup Competition held in Washington, DC from February 21-24.  Professor George Walker coached the team.

Michael Bixby placed 15th and Ebbie Yazdani-Zonoz placed 37th among over 80 students submitting oral arguments in the initial
hearings of the round-robin competition.

Although the team did not advance to the finals, they ably represented Wake Forest in the world’s largest moot court competition. Among the 22 law schools competing, American University won and the University of Virginia came in second place.

The 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.

Results from the Tulane Sports Law Invitational

Lauren Huddleston (’14), Craig Harasimowicz (’14), Taryn Walker (’14), and Professor Don Castleman

Lauren Huddleston, Craig Harasimowicz, and Taryn Walker represented Wake Forest in the Tulane Mardi Gras Sports Law Invitational on February 6-8.  Professor Don Castleman coached the team.  The competition was held in New Orleans at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

There were 34 teams in the competition.  Wake Forest received the 6th highest brief score.  In the first three rounds, Wake Forest competed against Villanova, Marquette, and UC Davis.  The first 3 rounds were not head-to-head, but rather the teams to advance to the 4th round were determined by overall scores.  The Wake Forest team advanced to the 4th round, which was then judged head-to-head, and lost to Howard University.


Results from the Stetson International Environmental Law Competition!

The Wake Forest International Environmental Moot Court Team, coached by international environmental law superstar John Knox, competed in the Stetson International Moot Court Competition hosted by the American University Washington School of Law in Washington D.C from February 8-10, 2013.  There were 16 teams in the North American Regional Round, including Wake Forest’s team participants Emily Unnasch, Erin Woodrum, and Nikolas Ortega.

In the preliminary round the Wake Forest team beat William and Mary, but lost to the University of Hawaii and UC Hastings in extremely close rounds. Congratulations to the Wake Forest Team on a great competition!

National Moot Court Team competes in Richmond

Dylan Greenwood (’13), Melissa Evett (’13), Katie Hatcher (’13), and Professor John Korzen

Melissa Evett (’13), Dylan Greenwood (’13), and Katie Hatcher (’13) competed on  behalf of Wake Forest at the National Moot Court Competition’s regional tournament on Nov. 16-17 in Richmond, Va., which was held at the Fourth Circuit’s courthouse.

Melissa Evett (’13), Dylan Greenwood (’13), and Katie Hatcher (’13) competed on  behalf of Wake Forest at the National Moot Court Competition’s regional tournament on Nov. 16-17 in Richmond, Va., which was held at the Fourth Circuit’s courthouse.

The National Moot Court Competition is one of the two most prestigious Moot Court competitions held each year, out of more than 60 hosted throughout the country.

The Richmond regional is for law schools throughout the Carolinas, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia.  Schools may enter one or two teams.  This year a total of 22 teams entered the regional.  After two preliminary rounds on Friday, eight teams advanced to playoff rounds on Saturday.

This year’s problem involved the search of a cell phone at an “Occupy Wall Street” type of protest.  The cell phone owner, who had filmed a police officer talking to a suspected undercover officer and was about to post the video and an inflammatory statement about it, sued another officer after that officer seized and searched his cell phone.  The owner alleged that his First Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights were violated.

On Friday morning, Hatcher and Greenwood argued on behalf of the officer against a team from Elon Law School.  The judges gave the Wake Forest pair an excellent oral argument score of 90.  On Friday afternoon, Evett and Greenwood argued on behalf of the cell phone owner against a team from the University of Richmond.  Evett’s fiancé and father both attended the round.  Evett and Greenwood, as the team had done in the morning round, earned an excellent oral argument score of 90.

After the Friday rounds, the top eight teams were announced, based on their “point differentials.”  The Evett/Greenwood/Hatcher team was the sixth seed (out of the 22 teams) and thereby advanced to Saturday.

It was the fourth straight year that a team from Wake Forest advanced to at least the quarterfinals.  On Saturday morning, Greenwood and Hatcher earned an oral argument score of 95, outscoring a William & Mary team that received a 91, but unfortunately the William & Mary team had a higher differential in the teams’ brief scores and therefore advanced to the semi-finals.

“Evett, Greenwood, and Hatcher all made outstanding arguments throughout the competition,” said Professor John Korzen, director of the law school’s Appellate Advocacy Clinic.  “Judges praised them for being organized, answering questions directly, and proposing a rule that was not too extreme – all qualities that will serve them well in practice.”

Members of the team said they appreciated all the helpful feedback given by Professors Marsh (who judged multiple practices), Castleman, Lentz, Morrow, C. Rose, Schneider, and Walker; by their coach Professor Korzen; by 10 alumni who helped judge practice rounds; and by classmates.

Pat Naples (’14) wins 41st annual Edwin M. Stanley Moot Court Competition

Austen Irrobali (’14) and Pat Naples (’14)

Pat Naples (’14) is the winner of the final round of the 41st annual Stanley Moot Court Competition sponsored by the Wake Forest University School of Law Moot Court Board on November 16, 2012.

Melissa Evett (’13), Dylan Greenwood (’13), and Katie Hatcher (’13) competed on  behalf of Wake Forest at the National Moot Court Competition’s regional tournament on Nov. 16-17 in Richmond, Va., which was held at the Fourth Circuit’s courthouse.

Austen Irrobali (’14) represented the appellant Joseph and Amy Bell, versus Naples, who represented the appellee, Atlantic Coast Electronic.

This year’s panel judges were the Honorable Jeffrey S. Sutton, judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit; the Honorable Rhoda R. Billings (’66), Professor Emeritus, Wake Forest University School of Law and former chief justice, North Carolina Supreme Court; and Adam H. Charnes, partner, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, LLP.

”We really appreciated your arguments,” Billings said following the oral arguments held on Friday, Nov. 16, in the Worrell Professional Center. “It was a very difficult decision to make because you are both winners. You didn’t show that you hadn’t thought about these questions before.”

In an unprecedented move, Judge Sutton gave the finalists the phone number of Ken Loomis who works in the Sixth Circuit Clerk’s Office and told them that after they passed the bar exam, they needed to call Loomis and tell him that Judge Sutton said recommended both of them to argue a case in front of the appellate court. “I was really impressed,” he added.

Charnes added that the finalists did a great job responding to the judges’ questions. “They seem to be difficult questions and you did a great job not indicating you were flustered,” he said.

The competition chairpersons were Sara Player (’13) and Shannon Weist (’13).

Justin Jenkins (’14) was named best oralist and the winner of the James C. Berkowitz Award, which was presented by his sister, Ella Berkowitz and his niece. James died in a car accident when he was returning to the law school to argue in the quarterfinals of the 1984 Stanley Competition. Irrobali was runner-up for best oralist.

Rebeca Echevarria (’14) received the award for best brief. Runner-up for best brief was Pat Wallace (’14).

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 47 students competed in the competition, according to organizers.

Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition Results

Michael Levine, Robert Bruner, Christopher Nelson Hewitt, Melissa Evett, Adam White, and Elliott Cassidy represented Wake Forest Moot Court in the Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition on March 29-31. The competition was hosted by the Elon University School of Law in Greensboro, North Carolina and focused on constitutional law issues.

Although neither team advanced past the preliminary round, the first team beat a team from Vanderbilt in oral arguments.  Additionally, they only narrowly lost to a team from Duke in oral arguments.  The second team won their round against a Charlotte School of Law team.

Team member Adam White reflected on the experience saying, “although it was a super long day it was great meeting the other teams at the ice cream social.  Constitutional Law plus hot fudge and strawberries is the perfect combo.”