OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law made history this weekend by grabbing its third moot court national championship this year, the first time the law school has achieved such a milestone.
Second-year students David Fletcher of Jackson and Brett Grantham of Corinth, along with third-year Will Widman of Birmingham, Ala., won the National Professional Responsibility Moot Court Competition at Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.
“This level of repeated success is really an extraordinary testament to both the depth and quality of our advocacy programs and our student body,” said Richard Gershon, the school’s dean. “Further, it demonstrates the commitment of our faculty to national-caliber instruction – and not just in the traditional classroom.”
The win came just weeks after national championships were obtained at the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition and the Gabrielli National Family Law Moot Court Competition, both in New York. Ole Miss has won the environmental law championship three times in the past four years.
“This year has been a true testament to what we can accomplish when we work hard together from beginning to end,” said Irving Jones, chairman of the law school’s moot court board. “I am very proud to be a part of this organization and also very proud of how we have represented this university.”
The professional responsibility team competed against several nationally ranked moot court teams, including Chicago-Kent, Stetson and Florida Coastal in the final round. Widman won the Best Oralist Award in the final round and the team won the Best Brief Award for the respondent, which made them first seed going into the elimination rounds.
“We had been working on this problem since November, so it was a relief that all of the work that the team put in definitely paid off,” Fletcher said. “We’ve been mooting every day since February, twice a day during spring break, and even in Indianapolis with each other. If anything, I’ve learned what people mean when they say you can never be too prepared.”
The competition included a brief submission and oral arguments. Each brief was scored by a panel of judges to compile an average brief score, which was used throughout the competition.
During the preliminary rounds, each team’s score was determined by combining the brief (35 percent) and oral argument (65 percent) scores. During the elimination rounds, teams were scored solely on their oral argument performance, which were judged on reasoning and logic; ability to answer questions; persuasiveness; knowledge and use of the facts; knowledge and use of the controlling law; and courtroom demeanor and professionalism, according to McKinney School of Law.
“These three guys worked incredibly hard for weeks, through spring break, and beat Florida Coastal in the final round,” Jones said. “Winning this competition is an amazing achievement, and we are so proud of them for their success and dedication to the board.”