Liberty Law Team Claims Victory at Regional ABA Competition, Advances to Chicago to Compete in Nationals

March 22, 2012

Once again, Liberty University School of Law has continued its tradition of aggressive competition and success by claiming victory in this year’s American Bar Association (ABA) Regional Appellate Advocacy Competition, held earlier this month, in Washington, D.C.  This success marked a fourth victory in a row for Liberty and ensures advancement to the National Tournament, to be held this upcoming April, in Chicago.

This years champions were Mark Hicks (Class of 2012), Jeremy White (Class of 2012), and Phillip Marbury (Class of 2012).  Additionally, White was acknowledged as the second best Oralist throughout the tournament and Hicks received recognition as the eighth best Oralist.  Together they finished with a 4-1 record defeating teams from the University of Richmond School of Law, Regent University School of Law, George Mason University School of Law, and the University of Arkansas School of Law.  Their only loss came from Washington and Lee University School of Law, on brief score.

Additionally, the team of Jennifer Gregorin (Class of 2012), Dan Schmid (Class of 2012), and Dustin Gaines (Class of 2013) advanced into the regional semi-final round before being eliminated.  Gaines and Gregorin finished the tournament with a 2-2 record, beating teams from Southern Illinois University School of Law and Regent University School of Law.

“It was a privilege and an honor to watch Mark, Jeremy, Dustin, and Jennifer argue at the tournament.  All of them are extremely impressive advocates, and their oral argument skills were unquestionably second to none at the event,” said Schmid.  

This year’s problem was a complicated case of statutory interpretation involving Federal Medicaid law and state regulations that govern the treatment and insurance coverage for those suffering from mental health conditions.  In the hypothetical case, a twelve-year-old child with autism was denied insurance coverage of his applied behavior analysis treatment.  The insurance company based its denial on a state statute that provided such coverage only until the child reached age 12 but not after.  The family sought to invalidate the state statutes based on a broad reading of the Federal Medicaid act and the Wellstone Act that requires parity in treatment of mental health conditions and physical conditions.
The combination of current medical issues and complicated Medicaid regulations involved made this year’s problem very challenging to master, and yet incredibly exciting to argue,” added White.  “It’s thrilling to be part of such a great team of competitors and coaches. I’m definitely looking forward to having the opportunity to represent the school at Nationals in April.”
Coaching the two teams was Scott Thompson, Director for the Center for Lawyering Skills at Liberty University School of Law, and Rena Lindevaldsen, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Liberty University School of Law.  “Dean Lindevaldsen and I are extremely pleased with the way both teams argued and conducted themselves throughout the tournament.  Each of the competitors represented the Lord and the school with distinction and dignity,” concluded Thompson.