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Winners of 2012 John W. Davis Appellate Advocacy Moot Court Competition Announced

The 2012 John W. Davis Appellate Advocacy Moot Court Competition at Washington and Lee School of Law concluded in the Millhiser Moot Court Room with the final round on Friday, October 19.

The Honorable G. Steven Agee, U.S. Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Honorable Sanford L. Steelman, Jr., Judge for the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and the Honorable John M. Tyson, Judge for the North Carolina Court of Appeals, presided over the final round.  Professors Anne Massie and Russell Miller selected the Best Brief.

Rockwell Bower won Best Oralist, and Alex Sugzda received runner-up. Matthias Kaseorg and Ben Willson also competed in the final round.  Claire Hagan and Scott Weingart won the Best Brief award.  Alex Sugzda received runner-up.  The teams of Marcus Lasswell and Lucas White and Emily Kuchar and Tiffany Eisenbise were also Best Brief finalists.

The John W. Davis Moot Court Competition is an appellate advocacy competition held annually at the School of Law.  The Davis competition consists of two components: the submission of an appellate brief and the presentation of oral arguments before a panel of judges. 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.

This year’s problem was loosely based on Fisher v. Texas, an affirmative action issue recently heard before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Students who participated in this year’s competition are also eligible to represent W&L in national Moot Court competitions such as the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition and the Philip Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.

Amy Conant and David Miller, who judged the preliminary round, served as the administrators for this year’s competitions.  In an effort to simulate the U.S. Supreme Court, nine members of the Moot Court Executive Board judged the quarterfinal round.  Professors Beth Belmont, David Bruck, and Tim MacDonnell judged the semifinal round.

The Davis Competition is named in honor of alumnus John W. Davis, who joined the law school as its third faculty member in 1897 and is regarded as one of the finest advocates of the 20th century.

The Moot Court Executive Board administers all competitions for the Moot Court Program, which includes the Robert J. Grey, Jr. Negotiations Competition, Mock Trial, Representation in Mediation, and Client Counseling. For more information about the Moot Court Board and upcoming competitions, please visit http://law.wlu.edu/mootcourt.