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Tough Bench Pushes Students during 2017 Davis Competition

Judges gave competitors little time for prepared remarks before peppering them with questions during the 2017 John W. Davis Appellate Advocacy Competition at Washington and Lee University School of Law.

The competition, which tests students’ oral advocacy and brief writing skills in an appeal before a mock U.S. Supreme Court, occurred Thursday, Oct. 19 in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall.

The problem for this year’s competition focused on a stop and search by the police of an individual carrying a firearm openly.  The search, which the defendant claimed was conducted illegally, revealed pill bottles and counterfeit prescription pads and led to the defendant’s arrest and conviction.

After two rounds of arguments and a lengthy deliberation, the judges awarded first place to Chase Cobb ‘19L. Second place went to Patrick Hanlon ‘19L. Also competing in the final round were Danielle Phillips and Diane Gremillion.

In the brief writing portion of the competition, judged by W&L Law faculty members, Brett Lawrence ‘18L took first place and Hanlon took second.

The competition was judged by the Honorable Rhesa Hawkins Barksdale, Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; the Honorable D. Arthur Kelsey, Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia in Richmond; and Elbert Lin a partner at Hunton & Williams and former Solicitor General of West Virginia.

The competition was administered by third-year law students Alan Carrillo, Matt Donahue, and Ian Huyett.