MSL’s Appellate Moot Court Team Makes Huge Advances at National Competition

Friday, May 6, 2011

MSL’s Appellate Moot Court Team Makes Huge Advances at National Competition

By: Dan Thompson, 2011-2012 MSL ACS Student Chapter Vice President

MSL’s Appellate Moot Court Team competed at the American Constitution Society Constance Baker Motley National Moot Court Competition in Constitutional Law this past March in Boston. MSL came home with three prominent recognitions after sending four teams to compete against thirty-one other teams from laws schools across the country. This year’s teams were Casey Powers and Dan Thompson; Laurie Lemieux and Paul Stewart; Joe Andriolo and Courtney Pasay; and Caroline Flanders and Marissa Hederson. As part of the competition, each team wrote their own appellate brief and competed in multiple rounds of oral arguments.

MSL won three recognitions during the awards ceremony. First, MSL cheered when Lemieux and Stewart earned the “Best Appellate Brief – Respondents” award. Next, Powers and Thompson earned the “Best Appellate Brief – Petitioners” award. The excitement then grew when the judges announced that Powers and Thompson would be one of the eight teams to advance to the quarterfinals and become the first team ever from MSL to advance that far in the competition. Unfortunately, Powers and Thompson lost in a very close elimination round the next day.

The teams began work on their appellate briefs in November and continued working through final exams and winter break until the briefs were submitted in the middle of January. After the appellate briefs were submitted, each team spent the next two months preparing for the oral argument rounds while faculty and MSL alumni volunteers acted as judges and provided constructive feedback. Professors Peter Malaguti, Constance Rudnick, Andrej Starkis, Kurt Olson, Ed Becker, and Katherine Bowles Dudich all contributed their time and knowledge. MSL alumni and former Appellate Moot Court Team competitors Ben Simanski and Kathleen Mulligan also helped the teams prepare.

Each member of the Appellate Moot Court Team agreed that they were really one team of eight competitors, rather than four separate teams. “We spent a great deal of time bouncing ideas off of other teams,” said Casey Powers, “and that really helped all of us perform better.”

All of the writing, practicing, and competing was both arduous and rewarding for each team member. “The success MSL had at the competition was due to the hard work of the participants, coaches, and professors who gave so much of their time” said Powers. Marissa Hederson, the 2011-2012 MSL ACS Student Chapter President, agrees with Powers. “This was one of the hardest and most worthwhile experiences I’ve had at MSL thus far” said Hederson. “I think we all truly enjoyed the teamwork and competition. MSL really held its own against some really tough teams and we formed a bond with each other that will last far beyond law school.”

Recruitment for next year’s Appellate Moot Court Team will take place during the fall semester. With some of the members of the Appellate Team graduating, MSL will be looking for new dedicated team members who have strong writing and oral advocacy skills in order to build on this year’s successes.


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