National Moot Court Competition

By Kimberly Anderson

I usually try to incorporate the theme of the issue in the Division News column, but this column is on a completely different topic than sex. Owing to the timing, I did not want to delay sharing this information with you. This column highlights the recent Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps National Moot Court Competition held at Naval Air Station (NAS) in Jacksonville, Florida. It is the only Navy JAG moot court competition and quite possibly the only military moot court competition. It specifically pertains to our law student members and active military lawyer members; however, it is useful to know in case you would like to pass the information along to an aspiring law student. This competition covers several focus areas of the ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division, including law school outreach, diversity, military law, and public service. A special thank-you needs to go out to Daniel Gay, mass communication specialist 2nd class, Navy Public Affairs Support Element East, Detachment Southeast, for providing the information below.

The 2009 JAG Corps National Moot Court Competition was hosted November 12 to 14 by Region Legal Service Office Southeast and welcomed 23 teams of students representing a cross-section of the highest caliber and most diverse law schools from across the nation.

The teams argued before panels comprised of a U.S. federal judge, sitting military jurists from the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Appeals, and the Navy Trial Judiciary.

Rear Adm. Nanette DeRenzi, Deputy Judge Advocate General of the Navy and Commander, Navy Legal Service Command, said the event is one of a kind owing to its military theme. “The unique thing about this competition is its national scope and its focus on military justice,” said DeRenzi. “There is not another competition like this in the country, and the thing that makes it truly a premiere event is the opportunity for the competitors to argue before sitting judges.”

Judge Andrew S. Effron, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, said even though the case is based on the military, the students won’t be in the dark about the application of law. “The problem that has been given to them is one that, although it is a military law specific topic, involves general constitutional principals of self-incrimination and search and seizure,” said Effron. “So they get to apply the legal skills they have learned in law school, have those skills tested in competition with other students, and have experienced judges ask them tough questions and evaluate them in oral arguments.”

The competition will also have an effect on the reputation of the JAG Corps. “Hopefully the effect of this competition on the Navy JAG Corps Navy-wide will be an enhanced reputation for professionalism, and nationwide an enhanced awareness of the Navy, what the Navy does, and what the Navy JAG Corps role is,” said DeRenzi.

Eight schools advanced to quarter-final rounds: Barry University School of Law, Duke University School of Law, Florida A&M University College of Law, The John Marshall Law School, Southern University Law Center, Stetson University College of Law, University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law, and University of Houston Law Center.

After the final arguments were given, DeRenzi announced that the top winner was the Stetson team, made up of Joseph Etter, Amie Patty, Brice Zoechklein, and team coach Larry Miccolis. Duke’s team, consisting of Andrew Shadoff and Greg Dixon, was recognized by the judges as having the best brief. Nicholas Mahrt, from the University of Denver College of Law, was named as the best oral advocate.

Other school participating included Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Florida Coastal School of Law, George Washington University Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, Georgia State University College of Law, Harvard Law School, North Carolina Central University School of Law, South Texas College of Law, Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, University of Alabama School of Law, University of California Berkeley School of Law, University of Georgia School of Law, University of Southern California Gould School of Law, and Yale Law School.

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