February 18, 2014 — Last year, the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law’s National Moot Court Team of Dick Baldwin, Laurie Abbott, and Nathanael Mitchell drafted the best brief in the nation in the National Moot Court Competition. In an email announcing that result, coach Troy Booher pointed out that theirs would be a difficult act to follow. But last week, this year’s team of Jeremy Christiansen and Stephen Dent came within 0.25 of matching that accomplishment. The Christensen/Dent brief scored a 93.00, behind only the 93.25 score of the team from the University of Pennsylvania.
On February 13, Judge Denny Chen of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit presented Christiansen and Dent the award for having drafted the second best brief in the nation. As Booher, one of the team’s two coaches (the other is Christ Stout) explained, “There were 194 briefs submitted in the entire competition, and Jeremy and Stephen’s brief was better than 192 of them.”
Dent said, “Moot court has taught me how to be more persuasive in both substance and form. In a moot-court competition (and in a real-life case), you need to know the record and the law, but you also need to convey your knowledge in a persuasive form. I am grateful to Troy and Chris for all of the time and effort they put into coaching our team and giving us practical insights. Not only did they help Jeremy and I become better moot-court competitors, but they also helped us become better lawyers. I am also grateful to Bill Richards for teaching me how to think and write like a lawyer during my 1L year.”
Christiansen added, “Participating in Moot Court is one of my favorite things I’ve done in law school. I was able to hone my writing and advocacy skills at a new level; but, more importantly, I was able to learn from Troy, Chris and Steve. It was an experience I will remember fondly long after I’ve left law school.”
Booher also thanked the many attorneys and College of Law staff members who helped the team prepare and provided logistical support: “Both national moot court teams did a great job in briefing and oral arguments, in no small part because members of the legal community volunteered hours of their time to share their experiences and judge practice rounds. Thank you to all of them.”
In conclusion, Booher said, “Jeremy and Stephen put a tremendous amount of work into the brief and in preparing for oral arguments. It is gratifying to see that hard work be recognized. Next year’s team again has a hard act to follow.”