Law School Hosts National Moot Court Regional, Performs Well in Competition

November 26, 2019

Minnesota Law hosted a regional round of the National Moot Court Competition on Nov. 22-23. Thirteen teams from across a four-state region came to the Law School to compete in brief writing and oral advocacy.

The problem involved questions of immigration law, jurisdiction, and the First Amendment speech rights of undocumented immigrants. Each team wrote a brief supporting either the petitioner, an undocumented immigrant from the fictitious land of Kryptonia, or the respondent, the U.S. Government. Each team then argued both sides of the case in three preliminary rounds, after which the teams were narrowed to eight quarterfinalists. Single elimination followed until the championship round.

Nearly 100 local attorneys, judges, and Law School alumni helped judge the oral arguments and the briefs. The championship panel presiding over the oral arguments was: Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Lillehaug; Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Thissen; Hennepin County District Court Judge Laurie Mille; Adine Momoh, a partner at Stinson, immediate past president of the Hennepin County Bar Association, and current chair of the Federal Bar Association’s Younger Lawyers Division; and Karl Cambronne, a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and member of the National Moot Court Committee.

Minnesota Law’s two teams both did very well. The Respondent team (3Ls Chloe Margulis, Isabel McClure, and Nick Evans) won Best Respondent Brief and advanced to the quarterfinal round. This is the fourth consecutive year that Minnesota Law has won a Best Brief award.

Professor Christopher Soper, director of legal writing,  and Chloe Margulis, 3L, member of Respondent teamMargulis said participating in the competition helped her learn many valuable skills that apply to practice. “It forced me out of my comfort zone and made me learn how to become confident in supporting viewpoints and legal arguments I don’t necessarily agree with,” she explained. “It taught me how to be a passionate advocate through both writing and oral arguments. … National moot court has been my favorite experience in law school.”

McClure found the collaborative relationships developed through the brief-writing process to be the most compelling part of participation. “When we got the problem, none of us knew a thing about the topic,” she said. “But we worked at it every day, we built relationships of mutual trust and respect, and by the end we had a brief we were proud of, and real friends. Our coaches supported all of that every step of the way.”

Andrew Leiendecker ’17, Kyle Hardwick ’13, and Kelsey Fuller ’18 are coaching this year’s teams.

The Petitioner team (3Ls Sarah Allen, Connor Shaull, and Kris Wathne) wrote the second-best Petitioner brief. That team advanced to the championship round, losing narrowly to a team from Drake University Law School. Shaull won Best Oralist in the Championship Round—the second consecutive year that a Minnesota Law student has snagged the honor.

The Law School’s Petitioner team advanced to the National Moot Court finals competition, which will be held in New York City in February.

“This last weekend, our team saw three years of hard work come to fruition,” the Petitioner team said in a joint statement. “Memories of legal writing and lessons learned throughout moot court pushed us on to Finals. We knew our coaches, instructors, and classmates always had our backs and we are excited to keep it rolling in New York.”

The Law School’s Petitioner team, comprised of 3Ls Kris Wathne, Sarah Allen, and Conor Shaull, advanced to the National Moot Court finals competition in New York City
The Law School’s Petitioner team, comprised of 3Ls Kris Wathne, Sarah Allen, and Connor Shaull, advanced to the National Moot Court finals competition in New York City in February

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