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Liberty Law Students Excel in Appellate Arguments

March 27, 2009

Pictured above (l-r): Sara Hope, Tim Todd, Scott Thompson, Bryce McKenney, and Katherine Turner


First-year law student (1L) Tim Todd, Champion of the Liberty University School of Law 1L Moot Court Tournament
After nearly a week of competition rounds, first-year law student (1L) Tim Todd was named Champion at the final round of the Liberty University School of Law 1L Moot Court Tournament held Saturday, March 21. The fifth-annual tournament, which was hosted by the school’s Moot Court Board, concluded before a distinguished nine-judge panel in the school’s Supreme Courtroom.

Todd gave credit to his classmates who aided in his preparation, saying, “Moot court is an integral part of law school that truly sets a solid foundation for practicality. Had it not been for the support and dedication from my classmates and friends, I would not have succeeded.” Joining Todd in the final round were Runner-up Bryce McKenney and Finalists Sara Hope and Katherine Turner.

“I am amazed at the amount of talent at Liberty’s School of Law,” stated Texas Supreme Court Justice Scott Brister, one of the nine judges who shared the bench for this year’s tournament. “For a first-year law student to argue in front of nine court justices is like pitching without the support of an outfield or an infield.”

Feedback from the distinguished panel indicated that every student argued in a fashion superior to their level of education and experience. “The students presented themselves with confidence and strong preparation, and their determination filled the courtroom,” said Virginia 22nd Judicial Court Judge David Melesco.

The Honorable John Gemmill of the Arizona Court of Appeals commented: “I truly liked each argument. I felt that each student conveyed themselves very well, more so than what I’m used to in Arizona. I was very impressed.”

Over the course of the tournament, the students presented four arguments: one representing an assigned client, one representing the opposing party, and two that were assigned randomly. After the first two rounds, the top 32 students advanced to the quarter-finals, the top 16 advanced to the semi-finals, and the top student from each semi-final round advanced to the finals.

Participation in the 1L Moot Court Tournament satisfies a requirement of the school’s unparalleled Lawyering Skills Program and provides each student an opportunity to argue a hypothetical case before attorneys and judges.

Professor Scott Thompson, Director of the Center for Lawyering Skills, invited judges from around the nation to participate and serve on the distinguished panel. These judges critiqued each student’s argument, provided constructive feedback, and ultimately determined the champion. The judges’ participation also allows the school to showcase its students and program of legal education, initiate professional networking, and broaden the potential for future externship and full-time employment opportunities.

The final round judges included the Honorable Scott Brister, Texas Supreme Court; the Honorable Keith Watkins, United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama; the Honorable John Jones, United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania; the Honorable Michael Hegarty, United States District Court for the District of Colorado; the Honorable Glen Conrad, United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia; the Honorable John Gemmill, Arizona Court of Appeals; the Honorable Glenn Acree, Kentucky Court of Appeals; the Honorable Bill Palmer, Florida 5th District Court of Appeals; and the Honorable David Melesco, Virginia 22nd Judicial Circuit.

“I am very pleased with the depth of talent in our first-year class. They have exemplified time and time again their determination and investment in succeeding. When our students succeed, the law school succeeds,” concluded Mathew Staver, Dean of Liberty University School of Law.