UT Law wins “National Best Brief” Award at ABA’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition

Members of the University of Texas School of Law’s interscholastic team— Nicole Haddad, ’12, principal brief writer, and teammates Michael Raupp, ’12, and Karson Thompson,’12—have won the Best Brief Award at the American Bar Association’s thirty-fourth annual National Appellate Advocacy Competition.

The competition, held in the federal courthouse in Chicago on April 7–9, 2011, brought together the top twenty-four American law school teams from an initial pool of more than two hundred teams. In addition to taking the top brief honor, UT Law’s two oral advocates, Raupp and Thompson, both received recognition as top-ranked speakers.

The competition involved two issues this year: whether a pre-enforcement challenge under the First Amendment is ripe for judicial review and whether a state statute, passed as a means to tackle a crystal methamphetamine epidemic, is constitutional under the Supreme Court’s commercial speech jurisprudence. 

The team was coached by Gretchen Sween, ’03, and Kaitlin Farrell, ’10, both of whom were national finalists in the same competition during their respective third years at the Law School. Sween currently teaches legal writing and appellate advocacy at the Law School. She has also coached interscholastic moot court teams at UT Law for the past three years and has accompanied a team to the ABA’s National Moot Court Competition each of those three years. Farrell is currently a staff attorney in the Law School’s Domestic Violence Clinic, with two years’ experience in interscholastic moot court competition.

Because this year’s team members were all second-year students, Sween said she has “robust hope” that the team members can “capitalize on the insights gleaned from this year’s experience, using them to build on the school’s success in future competitions.”

The UT Law students who participated in this prestigious competition (Haddad, Raupp, and Thompson, as well as Vince Harding, ’12, Nick Morrell, ’12, and Daniel Collins, ’12) put in long hours preparing, from early November 2010 through mid-April 2011. The students managed this demanding commitment while effectively juggling full course loads, journal obligations, and jobs as teaching assistants.

“The Law School is exceedingly proud of their commitment to excellence in advocacy,” Sween said.

Related Links:

UT Law wins Regional Championship at the ABA’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition, advances to nationals in Chicago

Law School team wins national championship at Uvaldo Herrera National Moot Court Competition

UT Law team wins national championship at John L. Costello National Criminal Law Trial Advocacy Competition 

Contact: Cheryl Brandt, associate director, School of Law’s Advocacy Program, 512-232-1257, cbrandt@law.utexas.edu

Media contact: Laura Castro, UT Law Communications, 512-232-1229, lcastro@law.utexas.edu

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