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UT Law wins Regional Championship at the ABA’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition, advances to nationals in Chicago

The University of Texas School of Law claimed a regional championship for the third consecutive year at the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition—the nation’s largest moot court competition—in Seattle on March 3–5, 2011.

The Law School sent two teams to compete this year in one of six regional competitions held around the country as part of this ABA-sponsored competition. The law students on the two teams were Michael Raupp, ’12, Karson Thompson, ’12, and Nicole Haddad, ’12; and Daniel Collins, ’12, Vince Harding, ’12, and Nicolas Morrell, ’12.

Both teams received top scores on their briefs in a field of thirty-two and prevailed 3-0 in the preliminary rounds. The team comprising Raupp, Thompson, and Haddad emerged as a regional champion, with both oral advocates (Raupp and Thompson) ranking among the top advocates overall.

Raupp, Thompson, and Haddad will be one of the twenty-four teams competing for a national championship in Chicago in April.

The ABA-sponsored competition involves two issues this year: whether a pre-enforcement challenge under the First Amendment is ripe for judicial review, and whether a state statute passed as a means to tackle a crystal methamphetamine epidemic is constitutional under the Supreme Court’s commercial speech jurisprudence. 

The teams are coached by Gretchen Sween,’03, and Kaitlin Farrell, ’10, both of whom were national finalists in the same competition when they were students at UT Law. Sween is a member of the Law School’s Legal Writing faculty. She has also coached moot court teams for the Law School for the past three years and has accompanied a team to nationals each of those three years. Farrell is currently working as a staff attorney for the Law School’s Domestic Violence Clinic. Last year, Farrell and teammates Will Hailey, ’10, and Michael Ritter, ’10, went all the way to the final round of the ABA competition, in essence besting over 190 teams.

“We hope to see this year’s team best last year’s showing so that the Law School will finally have bragging rights as national champions in the ABA’s thirty-five-year-old competition,” Sween said.

Contact: Cheryl Brandt, Associate Director, Advocacy Program, 512-232-1257, cbrandt@law.utexas.edu.

Media contact: Laura Castro, UT Law Communications, 512-232-1229, lcastro@law.utexas.edu.

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