Ole Miss Law Moot Court Team Wins National Championship

Title is third in four years for law school team


Caroline Shepard, Professor David Case and Irving Jones pictured with John Hulsey’s painting of Storm King Mountain, which commemorates one of the pivotal court decisions inaugurating the field of environmental law. The original painting serves as the traveling trophy each year and goes home with the winner of the competition.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law took first place at the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, held Feb. 22 at Pace Law School in White Plains, N.Y. The victory marks the third national championship in four years for the law school.

The school’s team, composed of second-year law student Caroline Shepard of Milton, Ga. and third-year law student Irving Jones of Washington, D.C., defeated 75 other law schools, including Yale and Indiana University in the semifinal round and LSU and the University of Utah in the final round.

According to Pace’s website, the competition is the largest interschool moot court competition in the nation, regularly attracting more than 200 students from various law schools to compete and 200 attorneys to serve as judges.

“The Pace competition is one of the oldest, largest and most prestigious law school moot court competitions in the country,” said David Case, the team’s coach and UM associate professor of law. “Winning a third national championship demonstrates that students of the Ole Miss law school can compete at the very highest level nationally.”

The competition tests skills in appellate brief writing and oral advocacy on issues taken from real cases. Before the competition, teams write and file a brief for one of three respective parties’ legal positions, and then the oral phase of the competition begins in February, where each team must argue all three sides, taking a different side during each of the three preliminary rounds. The teams with the highest combined scores for both the written brief and oral argument advance.

Shepard won the Best Oralist Award in first preliminary round, and Jones won in the second and third preliminary rounds. Judging the final round of the competition were the Honorable Lynn Adelman, judge of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Wisconsin; the Honorable Malachy E. Mannion, judge of the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Pennsylvania; and the Honorable Randolph Hill, judge of the Environmental Appeals Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“The entire law school community is proud of this championship,” said Richard Gershon, UM law dean. “Professors Case and Showalter-Otts have coached three different sets of students to the national championship at the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition. This is an indication of the strength of our advocacy program, in general.”

Coaches include Case and Stephanie Showalter Otts, both professors at the UM School of Law. Case is a nationally recognized scholar on environmental regulation and management topics, and holds a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies: environmental law, management and policy from Vanderbilt University. Otts is director of the National Sea Grant Law Center, a program that works to ensure the wise stewardship of marine resources through research, education, outreach and technology transfer.

For more information, contact Jenny Kate Luster at jkluster@olemiss.edu or 662-915-3424. For more information on programs at the UM School of Law, go to http://law.olemiss.edu/.