College of Law Moot Court Team Advances to National Finals

Moot-Court-TeamTen teams from five different schools participated in the Regional Moot Court Competition held the weekend of November 10-11 in Laramie, Wyoming. Two teams advanced to compete in the national finals in New York City on January 28-30, but those two teams could not be from the same school.  One of the teams advancing is from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.

Both Utah teams did extremely well under difficult conditions, according to coach Troy Booher, an adjunct professor of law at the College of Law: “The team of Laurie Abbott, Dick Baldwin and Nate Mitchell advanced to compete in the national finals. The Abbott/Baldwin/Mitchell team took second place overall, and Laurie was named the Best Oralist for the competition. Their team performed so exceptionally in the oral arguments that they overcame a low (in my biased view, unjustifiably low) brief score to prevail in every head-to-head matchup in the competition until the final round, when they lost to the Wyoming team that will join them in New York.”

The other Utah team of Adrienne McKelvey, Ryan Beckstrom and Jeff Van Hulten. also did a great job, according to Booher.  He explains that under the competition rules, only four teams advance to the semifinal round after each team competes against two other teams.  If four teams are undefeated, then those four teams advance.  Otherwise, the teams with the highest combined scores from oral arguments and briefing advance.  “After the first two rounds, the McKelvey/Beckstrom/Van Hulten team had the second-highest combined score in the competition, but had lost its first head-to-head matchup with a tough Colorado team by the thinnest margin,” Booher explains. “Because there were four undefeated teams, the McKelvey/Beckstrom/Van Hulten team did not advance to the semifinal round despite doing so well.”

Along with congratulations for the teams, Booher credits numerous supporters for their contributions: “Chris Stout helped coach the teams and deserves a great deal of the credit for their success. Carolynn Westenskow again made the entire process seamless. A number of people also volunteered their time to help the teams prepare. Rita Cornish (’06) and Jess Krannich (’05) each worked with a team and provided advice for oral arguments. Volunteer judges for practice rounds included Diana Hagen (’98), Rachel Wertheimer (’11), Adam Pace (’12), Matt Dodd (‘12), Professor Teter, Professor Cassell, Jonathan Pappasideris (’03), Cheylynn Hayman (’03), and Jennifer Horne (’12).  And volunteers who served on panels to discuss their experiences as members of past national teams included Engels Tejeda (’06), Megan DePaulis (’09), David Johnson (’10), Tajha Ferrara (’05), Steve Joffee (10), Matt Kaufmann (’12), and Kim Child (’12).  Thank you all for your time and insights.  You should be proud of how our teams performed over the weekend.”