A Winning Year in External Advocacy Competitions

student winners
GW Law won both the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition and the Telecommunications Moot Court Competition.
August 01, 2018

GW Law students participated in many external advocacy competitions over the past year with success. The Alternative Dispute Resolution Board, Mock Trial Board, and Moot Court Board each sent student teams to external advocacy competitions nationwide. Based solely on results in these moot court competitions, the Moot Court Board finished the 2017-18 academic year ranked in the top 20 nationally and as a result will participate in the National Championship in Houston in January 2019. "When you couple our external success with the fact that GW Law hosts another 10 competitions annually, we really are one of the finest advocacy programs in the country," said David M. Johnson, Assistant Dean for Pro Bono & Advocacy Programs. The following provides highlights from these competitions that took place.

Overall Champions

The Mock Trial Board Team of 2018 graduates Breanna Smith and Vincent Glynn, and rising 3Ls Danielle Smart and Aaron Ruffin won the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition (BLSA) National Championship in Brooklyn, New York, on March 13-17, 2018. They advanced to the nationals by winning the Regional in Portsmouth, Virginia. The team was coached by Ieshaah Murphy, a Supervising Attorney at D.C. Public Defender Service. This was Ms. Murphy's first time coaching for GW Law.

The team of Donald Crowell and Alison Cheperdak, both 2018 graduates, won the 24th Annual National Telecommunications Moot Court Competition held at the Catholic University from February 9-10, 2018. They were coached by alumni and Professorial Lecturer in Law M. Ethan Lucarelli.

The TYLA National Trial Competition Regional in Washington, D.C., which took place from February 9-11, 2018 was won by the team of Steven Haspel, Mojdeh Bowers, and Jack Meyer, all of whom are 2018 graduates. They were coached by one of the law school's newest advocacy adjuncts, Lauren Johnson. Since 2014, Ms. Johnson has served as a Staff Attorney for the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C.

Best Brief

Jessica Gopiao and Payal Patel, both 2018 graduates, were awarded Best Respondent's Brief at the 42nd Annual Robert F. Wagner National Labor and Employment Law Moot Court Competition in New York, NY, which took place from March 9-11, 2018. The team was coached for the second time by Michael Selmi, Samuel Tyler Research Professor of Law.

Best Oral Advocate

Elizaveta Semenova, LLM '18, won Best Oral Advocate at the Philip C. Jessup International Law Mid-Atlantic Regional Moot Court held at GW Law from February 8-11, 2018. Additionally, the team of 2018 graduates Ian O'Keefe, Ms. Semenova, Lisa Ann Johnson, Kathryn Penry, and Mallory Kruper reached the semi-finals. They were coached by Andrew Michaels, Visiting Associate Professor and Frank H. Marks Intellectual Property Fellow, who recently accepted an offer for a tenure-track position at the University of Houston Law Center.

H. Elenore Wade was selected as Best Oral Advocate in the 5th Annual D.C. Cup Moot Court Competition. Additionally, Elizabeth Upton and H. Elenore Wade, both 2018 graduates, were finalists. The team was coached by adjunct and alumnus Dave Zvenyach, JD '06, who previously wrote the Van Vleck problem and worked at the Council of the District of Columbia.

Rising 3L Christina Lamoureux was selected Best Oral Advocate in Manfred Lachs Space Law American Regional Moot Court Competition in Washington, D.C., from March 23-24, 2018. Additionally, Ms. Lamoureux and rising 3L Julia Malette were finalists. The team was coached by Professorial Lecturer in Law and alumnus Henry Hertzfeld; he is the Director of the Space Policy Institute and a Research Professor at the Elliott School of International Relations.

Rising 3L Robert Mingey won the Top Advocate Award at the 2017 Georgetown White Collar Crime Mock Trial Competition. The team of Mr. Mingey, Ray Burton, Jared Schwalb, and Madeline Smedley was coached by Adjunct Professor Paige Boorman, an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia.


Samuel Cockriel and Emma Frank, both 2018 graduates, were finalists in the Giles Rich Intellectual Property Regional Moot Court Competition in Atlanta from March 23-25, 2018. The team was coached by adjunct professor and alumnus Matthew Dowd, JD '07. He now heads his own IP law firm, Dowd PLLC.

James McIntyre and Omid Rahnama, both 2018 graduates, were finalists in the 26th Annual Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition held from March 3-5, 2018 in New York City and were awarded for their efforts. Prior to that, the team also reached the finals of the Fourth Circuit Regional held at the American Bankruptcy Institute in Alexandria, Virginia, on February 18, 2018. The team was coached by Professorial Lecturer in Law Michael Baxter of Covington with much assistance from Craig Goldblatt of WilmerHale, who traveled to the final day of the competition with the team. The team was funded by alumnus Daniel Lowenthal, JD '87, who heads Patterson Belknap's Business Reorganization and Creditors' Rights Practice in New York, with assistance from the Student Bar Association.


The second GW Law team in the TYLA National Trial Competition consisting of 2018 graduates Eileen Falk and Kristin Capes, and rising 3L Christopher Getty reached the semi-finals. They were coached by advocacy adjunct Paige Boorman.

Siobhan Hawkins and Jane Lee, both 2018 graduates, advanced to the semi-finals of the ABA Forum on Communications Law's First Amendment & Media Law Diversity Moot Court at the Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa Valley, California, from February 28-March 3, 2018. Advancement to the semi-finals was determined on the strength of briefs submitted. This competition was funded and coached by the ABA Forum on Communications Law.

GW Law co-hosted the National Veterans Law Moot Court Competition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in November 2017. Theodore Nastase and Kelly Elder, both rising 3Ls, reached the semi-finals and was selected to have written the Runner Up Respondent's Brief. The team was once again coached by Lisa M. Schenck, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Samantha Bennett and Marianne Spencer finished in third place at the 2nd Annual Religious Freedom Moot Court Tournament held at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. The team was coached by Ira C. Lupu, F. Elwood and Eleanor Davis Professor Emeritus of Law. Even retired, Professor Lupu remains very involved and interested in the success of students and religious freedom.


Emma Nguyen and David Fronckowiak, both 2018 graduates, were quarter-finalists in the Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Competition in Germany, which took place on March 12-16, 2018. The competition was jointly funded by GW Law and Covington. The team was coached by Clovis Trevino, an associate at Covington who specializes in public international law and international commercial and investment arbitration.

The team of Joshua Robichaud, JD '18, and rising 3Ls Christian Rosnell and Boris Shkuta were quarter-finalists in the 8th Annual National Energy & Sustainability Moot Court Competition in Morgantown, West Virginia, which occurred on March 8-10, 2018. Additionally, Mr. Robichaud was also awarded second place Oral Advocate. The team was coached for the third straight year by John Shepherd.