Law Students Take High Honors in National, Regional Lawyering Skills Competitions

More than 50 Washington University students represented the law school in nearly a dozen competitions in the 2012-13 academic year, racking up five first-place finishes and dozens of other accolades.

"The competitions allow law students to develop important courtroom skills while gaining appreciation for the extensive preparation needed for trials or appeals," notes Michael Koby, professor of practice and director of the Trial and Advocacy Program. "The lawyering skills competitions also encourage development of exemplary skills in brief writing and oral advocacy."

Below are moot court highlights for the 2012-13 season.

  • Missouri Attorney General’s Cup Competition. In April, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster came to Washington University School of Law for the formal presentation of the Championship Cup to the Trial Team for their first-place performance in the Third Annual Missouri Attorney General’s Cup Competition. Team advocates were Sarah Crites, Pallavi Garg, Elad Gross, and Stanley Thompson. The team of Garg and Thompson won the Championship Round. The team was coached by Judge David Mason, JD'83; Attorney Jennifer Hofman; and Attorney Mark Rudder, JD '91. 

  • Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition. After winning the Southern Super Regional competition, the Jessup Team advanced to the Octafinals round of the competition in Washington, D.C. where they were narrowly defeated by Australia’s Murdoch University. The team placed in the top 4 nationwide (out of 120 competitors) and in the top 16 in the world (out of nearly 600 teams from more than 100 countries)—one of the strongest showings the law school has ever had. Competing were Allison Latshaw, Diogo Metz, Douglas Pivnichny, Ted Reilly, and Hannah Zhao. The team has been coached by Gilbert Sison, JD ’00, for more than a decade, and Professor Leila Sadat is the team’s faculty advisor. A team from India won the World Cup Championship.

  • National Trial Competition. The team of Katie Coleman  and Robert Gardner won the Region 9 Tournament of the National Trial Competition (NTC) in Minneapolis, Minn. The NTC is the largest law school trial competition, with over 180 law schools competing in fourteen regions. Washington University School of Law has participated since 1980 and has won more than 25 regional championships and two national titles. The law school has finished in the top eight schools 18 times. The team of Carla Jordan-Detamore and James Miao also competed and finished as semifinalists. The NTC team was coached by Judge David C. Mason, JD ’83, adjunct professor and head coach of the Trial Competition Program, and Mark Rudder, JD ’91, adjunct professor and assistant coach. Adjunct professors Megan Appleby, JD ’08, and Jennifer Hofman also helped prepare the NTC team.

  • American Association of Student Trial Advocacy Competition. The Washington University School of Law Trial Team Competition swept both first and second place at the regional competition of the AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition. The team of Pallavi Garg, Jordan Kielian, Stanley Thompson, and Erika Wurst won the regional championship after surpassing the team of Ashley Bynoe, Elad Gross, Emily Ottenson, and Kevin Webb in the final round. The regional competition, held in St. Louis, included 16 teams from 9 law schools. Judge David C. Mason is the team’s head coach, along with attorney Jennifer Hofman of Kodner Watkins & Kloecker LC.

  • National Appellate Advocacy Competition: Steve Gersten, Jason Schneider, and Sarah Sherer-Kolburn were Regional Finalists at the St. Louis Regional of the National Appellate Advocacy Competition. The three also received the award for Best Brief in the competition. Their teammates—Joseph Boylan, Sarah Nirenberg, and Derek Wiseman—were recognized as Regional Seminfinalists. Wiseman also received the award for Best Advocate in the competition.

  • The National Institute for Trial Advocacy Tournament of Champions (TOC). Team advocates Katherine Coleman, Robert Gardner, James Miao, and Erika Wurst competed in this invitational limited to the 16 law schools with the most successful competition records over the preceding three years. The law school has earned an invitation to the TOC in all but two years since the start of the tournament in 1989. The team was coached by Judge David Mason, Megan Appleby, David Fahrenkamp, and Jennifer Hofman.

  • Representation in Mediation Team. The Representation in Mediation Team of Matt Tippett, Samuel Negatu, Colleen Davis, Doug Mackin, Sarah Aslam, and Benjamin Storey competed in Lincoln, Nebraska. Tippett and Negatu were regional finalists, receiving the votes of all six judges in their first two rounds and finishing in second place after a split decision in the final round. Davis and Mackin—who had the second highest total points from the judges in their first two rounds—finished fourth. The team is coached by Mike Geigerman and Senior Lecturer in Law C. J. Larkin.

  • Environmental Moot Court Competition. Devin Dippold and Lewis Silver were winners of the 2013 Washington University Environmental Moot Court Competition. The other finalists were Connor Cobean, Mary Beth Dolan, Carol Jansen, and Kevin Simpson. Simpson also won the award for Best Oral Advocate. Hong Chen and Caitlin McCoy won the award for Best Brief.

  • William E. McGee Civil Rights Moot Court Competition: The team of Aaron Davidowitz, Kaitlyn Pennington-Hill, and Cort VanOstran won second place in the William E. McGee Civil Rights Moot Court Competition. Davidowitz received an Honorable Mention as a top speaker in the competition. Their teammates—Isaac Chaput, Michael Harriss, and Nick Heberle—finished fifth out of a field of more than 40 teams.

  • Wiley Rutledge Moot Court Competition. Evan Peters and Andrew Liebler received the Golden Quill Award for crafting the best appellate brief in the Wiley Rutledge Moot Court Competition, while Mary Treanor received the Golden Gavel Award for receiving the highest oral argument scores during the competition’s preliminary round. The competitors were invited to lunch with Hon. Laura Denvir Stith, Missouri Supreme Court Justice; Hon. Donald G. Wilkerson, Federal District Court Judge for the Southern District of Illinois; and Laurel Stevenson of Lathrop and Gage, LLP.