Drake Law School, represented by the team of Lauren Calef (3L), Rachel Soderstrum (3L), and Logan Brundage (2L), tied for third in the nation and finished in the ‘Final Four’ of the 70th Annual National Moot Court Competition hosted at the New York City Bar in New York City.
Calef, Soderstrum, and Brundage advanced to nationals after they placed first in the region by writing the best brief and remaining undefeated in oral arguments.
159 teams from 117 schools entered the 2019-2020 competition, participating in 14 regional competitions to determine the two best teams from each region to compete at the national finals.
The National Moot Court Competition is an annual inter-law school event designed to promote the art of written and oral appellate advocacy. The competition, which is co-sponsored by the New York City Bar Association and the American College of Trial Lawyers, is one of the most highly regarded and longest running competitions of its kind. The competition assesses a team’s written brief, as well as its oral arguments, on timely and important legal issues. This year, the problem involved unsettled issues of immigration and First Amendment law.
“Learning the ins and outs of such a timely issue was challenging, yet exciting. One goal our team had for the competition this year was to write a brief that would help ensure our success. Our brief was the best overall brief at our regional competition, and gave us an advantage over teams we faced at nationals. We realized that while oral advocacy is a key factor of this competition, written advocacy is just as important,” Soderstrum said.
In the National Finals, Drake Law School went undefeated through two preliminary rounds, an octo-final round, and a quarter-final round. After winning both preliminary rounds, the team went on to win the octo-finals against South Texas College of Law (which had the runner-up best brief) and the quarter-finals against the University of Minnesota Law School. In the semi-finals, Drake Law School lost a close round to the University of Georgia team that ultimately won the national title.
“We are very proud of the national team’s success, which follows a long tradition of moot court strength at our school,” said Dean Jerry Anderson. He noted that the Drake Law National Moot Court team has advanced to nationals 17 out of the last 25 years. “It illustrates the truth of our statement, that Drake Law School produces ‘complete professionals’, who not only know the law, but how to use it.”
Laurie Doré, the Ellis and Nelle Levitt Distinguished Professor of Law, coaches the national moot court teams at Drake Law School.
“I was so proud and impressed by the poise and performance of our students. They wrote an excellent brief and made articulate and persuasive arguments in every round. They certainly deserved to be ranked in the “final four” of the more than 100 teams that participated in the regional and final rounds of this prestigious competition,” said Professor Doré.
It has been a successful year for Drake Law School’s moot court program. In addition to the National Moot Court team, Drake Law School’s Client Counseling and Arbitration teams both won their regional competitions and advanced to the national finals.