Moot Court Team Begins Fall Semester On High Note and High Ranking after Spring Wins

  • Winning Team
    Winning Team  The Moot Court Program is one of the Law School’s best opportunities for students to develop and refine both oral advocacy and brief-writing skills. Membership on the team is highly selective and is determined through the annual intramural tournament. Students selected for membership participate in an advanced appellate brief writing course and work with other team members to prepare for intercollegiate competition. Spring 2019 photo.  Photo by David F. Morrill
Photo - of -

William & Mary Law School’s Moot Court Team may have ended spring semester virtually on line, but the triumphs were real world. Not only did the team finish out the year ranked ninth in the nation, but they also enjoyed several major competition successes.

In April, the team won best brief at Fordham Law School’s 45th Irving R. Kaufman Memorial Securities Law Moot Court Competition. The annual competition’s final round was to have been presided over by a distinguished panel of judges, including Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Judges Pamela Chen (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York), Richard Sullivan (Second Circuit), Bernice Donald (Sixth Circuit), and Paul Kelly (Tenth Circuit).

Held online due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this year’s competition problem featured a securities fraud private action involving an Italian liquor company’s launch of its new alcohol-spiked sparkling water. Under examination was: 1) the extraterritorial scope of the Exchange Act in light of the disagreement between the Second and Ninth Circuits; and 2) the force and reach of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Lorenzo v. SEC given differing facts.

William & Mary Law School, represented by Damian Gallagher ’20 , Meg McCarthy ’21 and William Spotswood ’21, was awarded Best Brief, followed by Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and University of Miami Law School.

In a written statement, Justice Alito praised the incredible efforts of each team.

“I’ve sat on the final round of the competition in past years and have always been impressed with the enormous amount of work that participants have put in, and have enjoyed meeting the finalists. After all your preparations I’m sure it is a great disappointment for you to be deprived of the opportunity to come to New York and argue,” Justice Alito wrote. “Nevertheless, you should keep in mind most appeals are won and lost on the briefs, and I’m sure you have still learned a tremendous amount through this competition. I wish you all great success in your remaining time in law school and in your legal careers. And, after you enter practice, I hope you will have the opportunity to argue a real case before me.”

William & Mary Law School’s Center for Law and Markets provided the team with funding to off-set the cost of registration to attend the Securities competition.

Alan Meese, Ball Professor of Law and Co-director of the Center also offered congratulations.

"The Center was happy to support the team's participation in this prestigious and highly competitive tournament," Meese said. "Compliments to the students, and the Moot Court Program another victory!"    

In addition to the Kaufman win, the team took home other best brief awards during the spring semester. The first came on February 21-22 from the 33rd Annual August A. Rendigs, Jr. National Products Liability Moot Court Competition, hosted annually by the University of Cincinnati College of Law. The Rendigs Competition is the only national competition devoted to products liability law, and Dan Long ’20 and George Townsend ’21 won the award for the best brief.

The team also won a best brief award in April from Touro Law Center’s Seventh Annual National Moot Court Competition in Law and Religion. Morgan Knudtsen ’20, Karsyn Keener ’21 and Alxis Rodis ’21 served on the Touro team.

“I am very proud of our students’ work this past spring,” said Jennifer R. Franklin, Professor of the Practice of Law and the Moot Court Program's faculty advisor. “In person and virtually, they proved their mastery of the facts and the law, and I am looking forward to this upcoming moot court season, when the students will be continuing and expanding upon this great work in a fully virtual setting.”

About William & Mary Law School
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.