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Prestigious Panel of Federal Judges to Decide Davis Competition

A distinguished panel of senior judges from three different federal circuit courts will decide the 2011 John W. Davis Appellate Advocacy Competition at the Washington and Lee School of Law. The finals will be held Friday, October 21, beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall.

The competition will be judged by the Honorable Judge Bobby Ray Baldock, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; the Honorable E. Grady Jolly, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; and the Honorable Emmett Ripley Cox, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

The judges will also be available on Friday for a Q&A discussion with students. This session is scheduled for noon in Lewis Hall Classroom C.

The Davis Competition is an appellate advocacy competition held annually at the School of Law.  The competition consists of two components: the submission of an appellate brief and the presentation of oral arguments before a panel of judges. This year’s problem was based on US v. Jones, a case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court involving warrantless GPS tracking.

The finalists in oral advocacy for this year’s competition are Anthony Roddy Flynn ’12L, Steven Harkins ’12L, David Miller ’13L, and Matthew Rasmussen ’12L. The best brief finalists are Steven Harkins ’12L and Rudy Burshnic ’12L; David Miller ’13L and Ashley Ludlow ’13L; Nathan Jensen ’13L and Peter Choi ’12L; and Anthony Roddy Flynn ’12L.

During the competition, students write briefs individually or in teams of two, and all participants argue alone.  Competitors advance from the initial rounds based upon their performance on the brief and their oral advocacy skills, both on-brief and off-brief.  Advancement in later rounds is based purely on oral advocacy. 70 students participated in this year’s competition.

The Davis Competition is named in honor of alumnus John W. Davis, who joined the law school briefly as its third faculty member in 1896. Widely regarded as one of the finest advocates of the 20th century, Davis argued before the U.S. Supreme Court 139 times before his death in 1955.