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April 24, 2003

Press Contact: Allegra Young, UT Law Communications, (512) 471-7330

UT Wins Fourth National Admiralty Law Competition Title

Third-year student Rebecca Jackson defends her national title

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas won its fourth national title at the tenth annual Judge John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition held on April 10-12 in Seattle, Washington. Defending champion, third-year law student Rebecca Jackson, won her second national title, and second-year student Adam Harbin won the Garvey Schubert & Barer Award as the Best Oral Advocate in the Championship Round.

The team's success was particularly noteworthy because this is only the second time that a school has successfully defended its title in the competition’s ten-year history, and the first time that an individual (Jackson) has been on the winning team two years in a row.

Jackson and Harbin were also awarded second best Petitioner's Brief. UT students Jory Lange, ’03, and Daniel Knight, ’03, were quarterfinalists. Lange and Knight advanced to the quarterfinal round, defeating Southern Methodist and New York University in the preliminary rounds.

"We're exceptionally proud of Rebecca and Adam's national championship and of Jory and David's quarterfinal finish. The competition reflects a vital and successful partnership between our alumni, professors, and students, each contributing a lot of hard work to succeed at this level," said Dean Bill Powers.

“It was an honor to represent the University of Texas twice at the John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition. Texas is unique in that it provides a top-notch legal education while still valuing the importance of developing strong advocacy skills. Professors Robertson, Sturley, and Young create challenging, realistic problems that make this moot court a fascinating intellectual inquiry. In the Fall I will join the Houston office of Baker & Hostetler. I hope to do some Admiralty there in addition to general litigation. This experience has piqued my interest and prepared me well for the practice of law,” said Jackson.

Top advocate Harbin said, “I could not be happier with my experiences on the John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Team. I feel that our success at the competition directly reflects the quality of teaching we received from Professor Sturley and the quality of coaching we received from Chris Sapstead. This was my first moot court experience. But, after how well this went, I am definitely looking forward to next year's competition where we’ll see if we can three-peat!”

Chris Sapstead, ’01, coached the team. He is an associate with Crampton & Associates, P.C. in Austin. Sapstead is a past winner of the Royston Rayzor Vickery & Williams Award as the Best Oral Advocate in the Admiralty competition.

This year 24 teams from 16 schools across the country participated in the event, held at the University of Washington. The University of Texas co-sponsors this Competition each year with a local host school. UT Law Professors Michael Sturley, David Robertson, and Ernest Young write the problem, prepare the bench memorandum, and generally administer the Competition each year. The Admiralty Director at UT Law on the Board of Advocates staff is Aimee Martin.

UT Law has one of the top Admiralty law faculties in the U.S. David Robertson, who holds the W. Page Keeton Chair in Tort Law, is one of the nation's leading experts in admiralty law. Robertson's work has been cited many times by the U.S. Supreme Court, and he is the author of numerous texts, including the classic Admiralty and Federalism (Foundation, 1970). Michael F. Sturley, the Stanley D. and Sandra J. Rosenberg Centennial Professor in Property Law, is the author of numerous texts, including The Legislative History of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act and the Travaux Preparatories of the Hague Rules (Rothman, 1990). Ernest A. Young is the current Chair of the Admiralty section of the American Association of Law Schools.

Related link:
UT Law Wins Third National Admiralty Law Competition Title (2002)