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Law School logo covered in snow

Snowstorm Moot Point for National Competition at Law School

Team from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, LA
Southern University Law Center's team from Baton Rouge, LA enjoys Minnesota weather. Pictured left to right are Jessica Jarreau, Virginia Listach, Jo-Leo-Carney-Waterton, Brittney Reed and an unidentified person.

Canceled flights, snow-covered roads, and early closure of the University of Minnesota on Thursday did not discourage the 40 teams from across the nation or the more than 150 local attorneys, judges, and faculty who evaluated the participants. The 22nd annual William E. McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition went on unimpeded March 1-3. (Hotel accommodations in walking distance from the Law School helped.)

Teams told stories of planes landing on snowy runways, flights missed or canceled, high heels left behind in treks through snow drifts during one of Minnesota’s most memorable storms in recent history in terms of snow accumulation: All to get a chance to participate in one of the country’s most prestigious law competitions. The drama going on outside the Law School set the stage for the rigors to come inside.

The problem in this year's competition considered the constitutionality of voluntary race-conscious school-assignment plans that are being used by some primary and secondary school districts to achieve and/or maintain integration. The competition case, which was argued orally before the U.S. Supreme Court on December 4, 2006, is Parents Involved In Cmty. Sch. v Seattle Sch. Dist., 426 F.3d 1162 (9th Cir. 2005), cert. granted, 126 S. Ct. 2351 (2006) (No. 05-908).

Snow Gopher The competition culminated with the final round on Saturday, followed by an awards ceremony and a reception in Auerbach Commons. Coincidentally, the atmosphere of relief and accomplishment that prevailed inside the Law School was matched by calmer conditions outside.

This year's top honors go to: Campbell University School of Law, Team 1, Jennifer Kerrigan, Jamie Gentry and Stephanie Evans who not only won First Place but also Best Brief.

Second Place: Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Team 1, Roxanna Mason, Bill Patterson and Toneille Raglan.

Third Place: University of Washington School of Law, Team 2, Andrea Schmitt and Suzanne LiaBraaten.

Rounding out the top four was: University of Wisconsin Law School, Team 1, Eric Weiss and Wendy Richards.

Sean Cowley of University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Team 1 won not only Best Oral Advocate Overall but also Best Oral Advocate of the Preliminary Rounds.

Also making the Quarter Finals were: University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Team 2, University of St. Thomas School of Law Team 1, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Team 1 and Ohio State University Moritz College of Law Team 1.

Also making the Round of Sixteen were: Georgetown University Law Center Team 2, DePaul University College of Law, New York Law School, Southern Illinois University School of Law Team 1, J. Rueben Clark Law School Brigham Young University, Brooklyn Law School, Stetson University College of Law and University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Photo Credits: photos #1, 2, 3 and 5 are by Maurits Steinebach (LLM); photo #4 by Dale Trexel.

Contestants entering the Law School