Penn State Law students are in the middle of a busy spring moot court season. So far, thirteen students have traveled to competitions in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.
Student advocates are selected by the Moot Court Board to represent the Law School at competitions nationally and internationally. During the pre-selection process, student competitors are evaluated based on two components scored using a standardized rubric—a writing sample and the oral argument. The teams are then populated with the top-scoring advocates.
David Bender, Ian Gilbert, and Dustin Segovia were selected to compete in the American Bar Association National Appellate Advocacy Competition in Seattle on February 21-23, 2014. Professor Beth Farmer and team coach Amanda Nehrkorn traveled with the team. The team finished among the top eight schools out of thirty-five other teams. Team member David Bender, who was recognized as one of the “best oralists” in the competition, said the practical experience teaches him how to be a better lawyer.
"Strong advocacy skills are transferable to many aspects of life,” said Bender. “From the boardroom to the courtroom, attorneys are expected to communicate with clarity and precision. As student advocates in this year's competition, we were able to hone our advocacy skills and grow as future lawyers. It was an honor to represent Penn State Law in this year's competition."
Students Matt Tamul, Ben Ferrell, and James Lloyd competed in the Allegheny County Academy of Trial Lawyers Mock Trial Competition in Pittsburgh on February 19-21. The team defended a case alleging negligence against Keystone Automotive arising from an accident in which one of its drivers was hit by a motorcycle. United States Magistrate Judge Maureen P. Kelly of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania presided over the court. Faculty Advisor Professor Philip Sechler said "the team did a great job conducting a trial in all respects."
LL.M. students Roberto Chain and Jiaying Yan competed in the LL.M. International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition in Washington, D.C. on March 13. The competition is specifically created for LL.M. students and seeks to foster the study of international arbitration for the resolution of international business disputes and investment disputes. Team coach and legal writing professor Anna Sewell said they were "calm, cool, and collected professionals."
“They performed very well in front of an extremely difficult and active panel for a full hour and a half,” said legal writing professor Anna Sewell. “They received significant praise from the arbitrators and even from some of the other coaches.”
Since February, Fanny Bratfos, Brian Brodeur, Marte Hoevde, Adam Martin, Marcella Rabinovich, Morgan Rhinehart, and Chad Sliger prepared for the 21st annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna, Austria. For the first time, the team has competed in pre-moot competitions, including the Fordham pre-moot in New York to prepare for the competition during April 12-17. The LL.M. and J.D. students will dispute an international business contract with students from Russia, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Australia.
Students are still preparing for moot competitions scheduled for later in the spring. This includes the John J. Gibbons National Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition, Robert F. Wagner National Labor and Employment Law Moot Court Competition, and Dean Jerome Prince Memorial Evidence Competition.