William & Mary Law School’s four competition teams help students hone crucial lawyering skills while working collaboratively. And they love to compete, as their hard work over the past few months can attest.
Moot Court Team
The Moot Court Team went into Thanksgiving break with a great feeling of accomplishment over their preceding month of competition. On Friday, Oct. 19, two Moot Court teams competed in the Northeast Regional round of the Thomas Tang National Moot Court Tournament. Afton Paris ’19 and Jeremy Tjia ’19 were named Tournament Champions; Tjia was named Best Oralist; and Gailen Davis ’19 and Evan Lewis ’19 were Tournament Finalists and won Best Brief.
Both teams went on to compete in the national rounds held in Chicago at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois courthouse on Nov. 9-10. During the competition, Tjia and Paris finished as Quarterfinalists and won four points for the Hunton Andrews Kurth National Moot Court Rankings.
On Nov. 16-17, the Moot Court Team also had a successful weekend at the Richmond regional rounds of the New York Bar National Moot Court Tournament, held at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va. The team of Daniel Cohen ’19, Tyler Garrett ’19 and Rachael Sharp-Stevenson ’19 won the tournament and advanced to the national rounds, which will be held at the New York City Bar in late January. The team of Bethany Fogerty ’19, Alexandra Maher ’19 and George Nwanze ’19 advanced to the semi-finals. Both teams tied for the Best Brief award, and Daniel Cohen won Best Oralist of the tournament. The team also won seven more points for the national rankings.
The Moot Court Team is currently ranked in the top 10 Moot Court programs nationwide, and is one of the Law School’s best opportunities for students to develop and refine both oral advocacy and brief-writing skills.
"It is an honor to work with such talented students," said Jennifer Franklin, the team's coach and Professor of the Practice of Law. "The third-year students, who competed this fall, are now poised to assume leadership roles in the spring and mentor the newest members of our team. I am looking forward to continued growth and success with our teams."
The Trial Team had an exceptionally successful fall competition season. On Nov. 16-19, team members Darrell Getman ’20, Allie Maples ’20, Jenn Carroll ’19 and Matt Strauser ’19 participated in the inaugural Hofstra Medical-Legal Mock Trial Tournament, with opening rounds held at the Nassau County Courthouse, and the final round in Hofstra Law’s Weitz & Luxenberg Trial Courtroom. Ten law schools participated in the competition—the only law school competition in the country to have a medical school and law school collaborate. William & Mary’s Getman and Maples won the inaugural tournament by going 3-0 for the weekend.
Earlier, during the weekend of Nov. 3-4, team members competed in the Cleveland Case Classic Tournament against other teams from the Midwest and East Coast. Mara Shingleton ’19, Daniel Urena ’19, Natalie Cardenas ’20 and Imani Price ’20 went undefeated for the weekend and brought home a large first place trophy for the hallway trophy case.
That same weekend, another team competed in the ABA Labor and Employment Law tournament. Christina Romine ’19, Matt Strauser (Chief Counsel), Darrell Getman and Allie Maples earned outstanding tournament scores and another win for the Law School. The team will be headed to New Orleans in January for National Finals.
And in October, Evan Gottstein ’19 won the best overall advocate for the St Johns Trial Tournament in New York.
Professor Jeffrey Breit coaches the team, teaching them the “art of persuasion,” how to tell a story and examine a witness so that the audience of judge and jury listen. His efforts have resulted in Trial Team students achieving more than 30 finishes as champions, finalists or semi-finalists in the last decade.
“The Trial Team has continued to excel this season because of the hard work each team has put into their preparation,” Breit said. “Trying cases with real fact scenarios and with real courtroom environments makes the joy of going to law school real. After a season of competition most of the Trial Team members are better than 85 percent of the lawyers who have tried cases for a decade.”
The Transactional team, which does not compete in fall competitions, spent the semester preparing for lively competition in the spring. This past spring, the student-led team continued its tradition of gaining recognition for comprehensive and thoughtful contract drafting at LawMeet’s spring transactional competition. William & Mary sent three teams to the annual Spring LawMeets Transactional Law Competition at various law schools in Florida, Pennsylvania and Georgia on Feb. 23.
The winning team of Kathy Zhou ’19, Sabrina Carter ’20, and Catherine Bell ’20 traveled to the University of Georgia Law School and was awarded Best Draft for submitting the most comprehensive and well-drafted contract in their respective competition location.
Two other teams, made up of Zachary Weisman ’18, Taegan Clarke ’20, Jack Olson ’20, Juan Abad ’19 and Patrick Seo ’18 (team Chairman), also contributed thoughtful and thorough drafts and negotiations.
The Transactional Team is currently planning to send members to the inaugural Magnolia Cup negotiation competition at the University of Mississippi in March, which is a four-round, single day negotiation competition.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Team
This fall, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Team selected 13 new members from the 1L class and one member from the 2L class to join the team in this year’s selection tournament. During the team’s first annual New Member Negotiation Tournament, similar to the Moot Court intra-team tournament. Kerry Walsh ’21 received the award for Best Advocate; Kathryn Maldonado ’21 and Frank DelPesce ’21 placed first; and Brianna Mashel ’21 and Eric O’Connor ’20 were the runners-up.
On Oct. 13-14, Ryan Walkenhorst ’19, Ila Addanki ’20 and Emma Dolgos ’19 participated in the St. John’s Securities Dispute Resolution Triathlon in New York City. The team placed third in the Best Advocate category.
On Nov. 3-4, the team hosted its annual William & Mary Law School Negotiation Tournament, which attracts more teams each year. Competitors included Stetson, John Marshall, Liberty, Richmond, Washington & Lee, American, UNC, Georgetown and the University of Mississippi. Stetson competed against American in the final, with Stetson winning the tournament for the third straight year.
A majority of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Team competitions hosted by other law schools occur in the spring. In March, team members Connor Ciepluch ’18 and Matt Riordan ’19 advanced to the quarterfinals at the Fordham Basketball Negotiation Competition; Katie Lukish ’18 (who won the same event the previous year) and Alex Pinkleton ’20 were the overall Runners-Up at the Merhige Environmental Negotiation Competition at the University of Richmond; and two teams competed and had individual success at the International Academy of Dispute Resolution Mediation Tournament hosted in Chicago. The team of Morgan McEwen ’18, Jamie Huffman ’18 and Hillary May ’18 placed in the top 10 for best client-advocate team; and the team of Ben Williams ’18, Kean Devine ’19 and Bailey Robbins ’19 was awarded the Spirit of Mediation Award for exemplifying the merits of the discipline.
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.