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April 2, 2004

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

UT Wins Fifth National Admiralty Law Competition Title

Third-year student Adam Harbin defends his national title

Adam Harbin, Alex Kaplan, Judge Kent, Susanna Southworth
Adam Harbin, Alex Kaplan, Judge Kent, Susanna Southworth

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas won its fifth national title at the Eleventh Annual Judge John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition held on March 25-27 in New Orleans. Defending champion, third-year law student Adam Harbin, won his second national title, the Adams & Reese Award as the Best Oral Advocate in the Championship Round, and the Royston, Rayzor, Vickery & Williams Award as the best oral advocate of the tournament. Teammates Alex Kaplan, '04, and Susanna Southworth, '04, rounded out the championship team.

The team's success was particularly noteworthy because this is the first time in the competition's eleven-year history that a school has won the title three years in a row. It marks only the second time that an individual has been on the winning team two years in a row, as Harbin matched the record established by Rebecca Jackson '03 (his partner on last year's championship team).

"I am very thankful to have had another wonderful experience in the John R. Brown competition. I wish I could take more credit for our success, but that credit rightly belongs with my teammates, Alex and Susanna; our coach, Chris Sapstead; and our instructors, Professors Sturley and Robertson. I am just glad that I could again be a part of what is becoming quite a winning tradition here at UT," said Harbin.

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.

Sapstead said, "This was a real team effort. I want to congratulate Adam, Alex, and Susanna on their many hours of hard work which bore fruit in New Orleans."

This year 24 teams from 15 schools across the country participated in the event, held at the John Minor Wisdom Courthouse (the seat of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit — Judge Brown's old court) and at the courthouse for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The University of Texas co-sponsors this Competition each year with a local host school. This years local host was the University of Tulane Law 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 Jill Troxell '05.

UT Law has one of the top Admiralty law faculties in the United States. 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, has written extensively on commercial aspects of maritime law. His publications include 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 Maritime Law section of the American Association of Law Schools.

Related links:
UT Law Wins its Fourth Title: http://www.utexas.edu/law/news/2003/042403_win.html
Tower Lighted to Honor Team: http://www.utexas.edu/law/news/2003/050703_tower.html