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U of M Moot Court Team Finishes Second in National Finals
For release: February 8, 2006
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The Moot Court team from the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law finished second in the National Moot Court competition finals in New York City last week. The U of M team defeated the University of Pennsylvania, Fordham University, George Washington University, and Wake Forest University before falling to Duke University.

“This is an extraordinary achievement,” said Law School Dean James Smoot. “It is another sign of the continued growth toward the next level of excellence that characterizes the University’s law school program.”

U of M team member Mark Thompson was named Best Oral Advocate in the final round. The other team members are Todd Richardson and Shannon McKenna. All three are second-year law students.  They competed primarily against third-year students at nationals.

“That’s one of the things that’s really noteworthy about this,” said law professor and team coach Barbara Kritchevsky, who also serves as the law school’s associate dean for academic affairs. “Having a second-year team be that competitive is quite something.”

The last time a Memphis team went to the national finals was 1999; that team finished in the top eight.

The competition began last fall with 186 teams from 129 law schools in 14 regionals. The U of M placed second at the regional level last November. The top 28 teams from regional competitions advanced to New York, and the top 16 teams advanced to the final round.

At the national level, the U of M defeated or finished ahead of teams from prestigious law schools such as Penn, the University of California Berkeley, George Washington, and Wake Forest.

“I think our team’s showing proves that as a law school we’re up there with any school in the country,” Kritchevsky said. “It certainly shows that our students can compete with any students on the national stage.”

The Moot Court competition is designed to help law students improve their skills in writing briefs and in oral advocacy. Participants must write a legal brief without outside help and then present oral arguments to a panel that serves as a mock Supreme Court.

The competition is sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Young Lawyers Committee of the Bar of the City of New York.

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