The Stegner Center’s student team of Mitch Longson, Melissa Reynolds, and Kate Tipple competed admirably against approximately 70 other teams in the 2015 National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition in New York. During the competition, the team delivered four straight stellar performances in oral arguments involving a very difficult and complex problem with six thorny issues featuring the Clean Water Act; the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; the public trust doctrine; and the Fourth Amendment.
A few highlights of the team’s accomplishments include:
- Earning one of only three Best Brief awards given in the competition (Best Brief for the environmental party)—only the second time Utah has won such an award at this competition, and the second time in two years
- Reaching the competition Quarterfinals
- Receiving a Best Oralist award, for Melissa Reynolds
Along the way, the team earned much well-deserved praise for their command of the complex statutes, case law, and regulations, as well as their acumen in oral advocacy and adeptness at convincing the panels of their positions. Among others, the team beat Vermont (one of the teams that ultimately made the finals) in a preliminary round, as well as the University Pennsylvania, the University of Hawaii, and Wayne State (who had won best overall brief). Both the judges and our competitors repeatedly told the team that they were some of—if not the—best advocates they had seen in decades of the competition.
In reflecting on the team’s performance, the team coach Professor Lincoln Davies said, “Suffice it to say the team should be extremely proud. I certainly am of them. Their performance and growth throughout the very demanding process of preparing for and competing in this competition was simply tremendous. They represented Utah with the highest level of excellence and professionalism.”
Many people contributed to the team’s success. Sarah Carlquist and John Robinson generously donated their time to help with coaching duties this year. Those who volunteered as practice round judges or who advised the team in their refinement of arguments include: Craig Anderson, Rick Angell, Dan Barnett, Haley Carmer, Wendy Crowther, Jake Davis, Rob Dubuc, Cheylynn Hayman, Megan Houdeshel, Lisa Kirschner, Megan McKay, Doug Naftz, John Robinson, Rod Smith, Mike Walch, Joro Walker, Dean Adler, and Professors Cassell, Craig, Guiora, McCormack, Reitze, Rosky, and Ruple.
Several donors have provided ongoing support that makes the school’s participation in this important competition possible. Donors for the 2015 Pace Moot Court Team include the Clyde Snow Sessions & Swenson, the ENREL Section of the Utah State Bar, Holland & Hart, Lear & Lear, Richards Brandt Miller Nelson The Salt Lake Lawyers, Questar, Tim Bywater, Ben Machlis, Jason Groenewold, Cameron Johnson, Jim Moore, David Mooers-Putzer, Doug Naftz, John Robinson, and Rod Smith.