After over a month of oral arguments and judging, the 2008 John W. Davis Appellate Advocacy Competition concluded with the final round on Friday, October 19 in the Millhiser Moot Court Room at the Washington and Lee University School of Law. Victoria Corder '10 was named Best Oralist and the Best Brief Award went to Liz Clarke '10 and Stephanie Hager '10.
The John W. Davis Moot Court Competition is an appellate advocacy competition held annually at the School of Law. The Davis competition consists of two components: the submission of an appellate brief and the presentation of oral arguments before a panel of judges. This year's problem involved a Fourth Amendment case exploring whether the U.S. Constitution requires law enforcement offices to demonstrate a threat to their safety or a need to preserve evidence related to the crime of the arrest to justify a warrantless search of a vehicle.
During the competition, students write briefs individually or in teams of two, and all participants argue alone. Competitors advance from the initial rounds based upon their performance on the brief and their oral advocacy skills, both on-brief and off-brief. Advancement in later rounds is based purely on oral advocacy. Nearly 70 students participated in this year's competition.
The final round of oral arguments was judged this year by the Hon. Glen E. Conrad, United States District Judge for the Western District of Virginia; the Hon. William P. Johnson '85, United States District Judge for the District of New Mexico; and the Hon. Henry Coke Morgan, Jr. '57A, 60, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Best Brief Judges panel was comprised of Professor Brian Murchison, Professor Joan Shaughnessy, and Professor Benjamin Spencer.
The Davis Competition is named in honor of alumnus John W. Davis, who joined the law school briefly as its third faculty member in 1896. Widely regarded as one of the finest advocates of the 20th century, Davis argued before the U.S. Supreme Court 139 times before his death in 1955.
2008 Davis Moot Court Results
Best Oralist: Victoria Corder '10 Runner-Up: Andrew Finnicum '10 Finalists: Andrew Fadale '10, Kate Loudenslagel '09
Best Brief: Liz Clarke '10 and Stephanie Hager '10 Runner-Up: Benton Keatley '10 and Andrew Finnicum '10 Nominees: Nicole Bright '09 and Chris Henry '09; Berit Everhart '09 and Garrett Ledgerwood '09; Oleg Nudelman '09
The Moot Court Board presents awards to the top oralists, to the winner(s) for Best Brief, and to the first runner-up for Best Brief. Students who participate are also eligible to represent the School of Law in national Moot Court competitions such as the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition and the Philip Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. The administrators for this year's competition were third-year students Crystal Doyle and Arif Noorani.
The Moot Court Executive Board, chaired this year by Rachel Flynn '09, administers all competitions for the Moot Court Program, which includes the Robert J. Grey, Jr. Negotiations Competition, Mock Trial, Mediation, and Client Counseling. For more information about the Moot Court Board and upcoming competitions, please visit http://law.wlu.edu/mootcourt.