Students Have Banner Year in Advocacy Competitions

Claudia Ojeda and Lisette Washington
Claudia Ojeda (left), JD '18, and Lisette Washington (right), JD '17, were selected as the champions of the D.C. Cup Moot Court Competition, sponsored by the D.C. Bar.
August 02, 2017

Several GW Law students have had a busy year due to their participation in various internal and external moot court competitions. The GW Law Moot Court Board announced that it has participated in 18 different external moot court competitions. As a result, five teams won their competition; two teams won Best Brief and another two were selected to have the Best Oral Advocate. The following provides a brief overview of a few student achievements.

Overall Champions

Mariel Murphy and Danielle Vogel—May 2017 graduates—won the 2017 KK Luthra Memorial Moot Court Competition in India earlier this year. Ms. Murphy also pulled through to win Best Speaker. The team was coached by alumnus Magin Puig Monsen.

Claudia Ojeda, JD '18, and Lisette Washington, JD '17, won the D.C. Cup Moot Court Competition, sponsored by the D.C. Bar. They were also selected to have the Best Brief. They were coached by Dave Zvenyach, an alum and adjunct, who previously wrote both a Van Vleck and D.C. Cup problem. This is the second year in a row that GW Law won and was selected as having the Best Brief. "We are the only local school to have won this competition more than once," Assistant Dean Johnson said. "This is a real tribute to our LRW program when compared to all other local schools." Visit this page for more information about the competition.

Arslan Sheikh, Daniel Causey, Grace Brier, and Amanda Danforth won the Estrella Mock Trial Competition in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In winning, the team went a perfect 11-0 on ballots. The team was coached by adjunct professor Moses Cook, Executive Director of Law Students in Court. (Moses led the team to the semi-finals last year in his first year coaching this competition, and this year seized the crown.) Alberto Estrella, an alum of the Law School, jointly created this competition with GW five years ago. Each year, 14 teams from around the country compete, and it has been previously won by UCLA and Berkeley. This year, the final four were American, GW, UCLA, and UVA. Mr. Estrella waited for five years for his alma mater to win the competition, and GW did not disappoint. 

Regional Champions

Breanna Smith and Tyler Hill—both 2Ls— won the Frederick Douglass Regional Moot Court Competition in Pittsburgh, PA. They were coached by adjunct alum Patrice Sulton, JD '08, who also participated in the same competition as a student. The team also advanced to the quarter-finals of the Frederick Douglass National Moot Court Competition in Houston, TX, and Ms. Hill was named Best Oral Advocate.

Cindy Navarro and Nicole Sharer—May 2017 graduates—won the Regional of the Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition in New York, NY. They were also selected to have Best Brief. As a result, GW Law advanced to the National Championship in Washington, D.C. The team was coached by alumnus and adjunct Professor Matthew Dowd. Visit this page for more information about the competition.

Best Brief

For the second year in a row, Skadden has funded and coached GW Law students participating in the WVU College of Law National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court in Morgantown, WV. However, unlike the preceding year, this year Skadden funded three times the number of students, which resulted in two teams participating. The team of 2Ls Elizabeth LoPresti, Kathryn Penry, and Joshua Robichaud won Best Brief and were finalists, finishing second. The team of Anthony Melon, Carrie Mobley, and Kyrstin Wallach—May 2017 graduates—reached the quarterfinals. Both teams were coached by adjunct Skadden attorneys Andrew Corcoran and John Shepherd, who both graciously waived any compensation. Skadden presented these students with an award recognizing their work. Visit this page for more about the competition.

Madeline DiLascia and James Yates, both 2Ls, were finalists—finishing second—in the Harold H. Greene & Joyce Hens Green National Security Law Moot Court held at GW Law. They were also selected to have Best Brief, and Mr. Yates won best overall competitor. The team was coached by adjunct Professor Steven Cash. Since the problem involved the Transportation Security Administration, Mr. Cash was able to recruit guest speakers Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger, former Administrator of the TSA, and Gillian Flory, Deputy Chief Counsel for Litigation, TSA. This competition was sponsored by the Moot Court Board, and 20 teams from around the country competed. Ariel Braunstein, JD '19, and Victoria Muth, JD '18, wrote the problem under the supervision of Peter Raven-Hansen, Glen Earl Weston Research Professor of Law Emeritus. Elizabeth Briones, JD '17, was Competition Chair, assisted by Vice-Chairs Joseph Karam and Madeleine Skaller, JD, '18.

Best Oral Advocate

Sophia Park and Kyle Zhu—May 2017 graduates—were finalists, finishing second, at the Gujarat National Law University Moot Court Competition in Gujarat, India. Additionally, Mr. Zhu won Best Oral Advocate.

Catherine Akenhead and Amy Pearlman, JD '17, were semi-finalists at the Evans Moot Court Competition at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin. Additionally, Ms. Akenhead was selected as Best Oral Advocate, and Ms. Pearlman won Third Best Oral Advocate. They were coached by Alan B. Morrison, Lerner Family Associate Dean for Public Interest and Public Service Law. Visit this page for more details on the competition.

Semi-Finalist

Phillip Beck and Swi Raparla—May 2017 graduates—represented GW Law at the Giles Rich IP Moot Court earlier this year in Atlanta, GA, and the team reached the semi-finals. The Rothwell Figg law firm generously funded the competition, and the team was coached by Associate Dean John M. Whealan. Visit this page for more information on the competition.

Christine Slomka and Doris Yuen—May 2017 graduates—were semi-finalists in the ABA Forum on Communications Law's First Amendment and Media Law Diversity Moot Court in New Orleans, LA. Ms. Slomka and Ms. Yuen wrote one of the best briefs in the competition, and as a result, their travel was fully funded by the ABA, which also provided a mentor coach. Visit this page for details about the competition.

Arian Attar and Sandra Rubinchik—May 2017 graduates—reached the semi-finals of the ABA Client Counseling Competition in Pittsburgh, PA. They were coached by alumna and adjunct faculty member Emily Crandall Harlan, who was made partner at Nixon Peabody. Visit this page for information about the competition.

Meghan Mandel and Brittany Finder—May 2017 graduates—reached the semi-finals of the ABA Mediation Regional Competition at George Mason University. They were coached by adjunct Professor Michael Terry. Visit this page for more information on this competition.

John Lockwood and Gesue Staltari—May 2017 graduates—advanced to the semi-finals of Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Competition in Germany. The team was sponsored in part by the law firm of Covington & Burling. The firm coaches were Clovis Trevino, Nikhil Gore, and Allan Moore. Visit this page for more information about the competition.

Quarter-finalist

David Hart and Beck Zucker, JD '18, reached the quarter-finals of the Williams Institute Moot Court Competition in Los Angeles, CA at UCLA School of Law. They were coached by Professor Joan E. Schaffner. Additional information on the competition can be found on this page.

Gianna Beireis, Carla Graff, Jacklyn Hoffman, and Daria Kasparek—May 2017 graduates—reached the quarter-finals of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Mid-Atlantic Regional Moot Court, which was hosted at GW Law. They were also selected to have the fifth Best Memorial. The team was coached by Associate Dean Karamanian. The Moot Court Board assisted ISLA in hosting the competition, led by the efforts of Donald Crowell. Visit this page for details about the competition.

Daheuin Ju and Irina Majumdar—May 2017 graduates—reached the quarter-finals of UC Davis Asylum & Refugee Law National Moot Court Competition in Davis, California. Ms. Majumdar was recognized as Third Best Oral Advocate. Visit this page for more details on the competition.