The law school’s competitive teams had a banner year with students emerging victorious from numerous mock trial, moot court, transactional lawyering and alternative dispute resolution competitions.
In April, the school’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Team advanced to the semi-finals in the ABA National Representation in Mediation Competition in Washington D.C.
The team consisting of students Rachel Weislow and Jon-Jorge Aras, as well as alternate, Samuel Halterman, defeated teams from the University of California-Berkeley, Georgetown University and American University. Practitioner Stan Braverman coached the team, while Professor Nancy Kraybill served as faculty advisor.
In March, they won the regional competition, which included 114 teams.
The school’s Trial Team also broke some hearts. After winning the Texas Young Lawyers Association Regional Competition for a second consecutive year in February, two members of the Trial Team, Michael Benz and Margaret Wheltle, flew to Austin in March, where they defeated Yale and became one of the final four teams in the TYLA National Trial Team Competition. Benz will be among just 16 law students from the nation to take part in Baylor University's invitation-only Top Gun National Mock Trial Competition in June.
A second team of Carla Wasko, Sam Haaz and J.J. Luff also performed well in the regional TYLA competition, advancing to the finals, where Wasko was named Best Advocate in the round, defeating students from Temple’s Beasley School of Law. The team was coached by attorneys Royce W. Smith of Feldman, Shepherd, Wohlgelernter, Tanner, Weinstrock & Dodig and David K. Inscho of Kline & Specter.
The Trial Team was also successful in the American Association of Justice Student Trial Advocacy Regional Competition in Pittsburgh on March 1-4. A squad comprised of students Ted Kopec, Cynthia Jentsch, Stephen Kulp and Racquel Hubbs advanced to the finals having defeated the defending national champions, Duquesne University School of Law, but fell just short of winning the title in a two to one decision.
Trial Team coach and Pennsylvania practitioner T. Mattew Leckman, commented: "This is a remarkable thing we're talking about on many levels. Maggie and Michael have won the regional tournament two years in a row. Winning repeat championships at regionals is the sort of lore typically achieved by only the nation's most longstanding programs."
The school’s Moot Court Board also turned some heads this year. In March, the team of 2Ls Elizabeth Mieliwocki and Brooke Hanley earned the first place brief award in the Thurgood Marshall Federal Bar Association Moot Court Competition, beating out over 30 teams, including SMU Dedman School of Law and Baylor Law School.
In March, 3Ls Ron Kern and Colleen Swim won the Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Moot Court Competition Southern Regional championship.
In addition to winning the overall prize and advancing to the nationals, Kern and Swim also received an award for Best Appellee Brief.
In February, a different Moot Court squad won the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition Mid-Atlantic Super Region championship and advanced to international competition, held in Washington, D.C. This is only the third year the law school has participated in the competition. Yet, this year, the school’s winning team – comprised of students Krysten Connon, Edward Grant, Melissa Green and Barkha Patel – prevailed over competitors from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, Villanova University School of Law and – in the final round – the University of Virginia Law School. In addition to winning the competition, the team received an award for exceptional brief writing. Green also placed second in the overall oralist category. The students competed in the International Rounds of the competition in March.
Finally, 3L Shari Berger Kulanu achieved success in an individual competition. Kulanu returned from the 9th Annual National Animal Law Competition in February with a pair of first place awards. Kulanu won the Legislative Drafting & Lobbying portion of the competition and also received an award for Best Bill and Fact Sheet.