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Student Awarded 'Top Oralist' by ABA

March 13, 2007

Liberty University School of Law students earned top honors at the American Bar Association 2006-07 National Appellate Advocacy Competition held in Washington D.C. earlier this month. Jeffrey Johnson was named “Top Oralist” and scored the highest out of 80 advocates in the argument portion of the competition. His teammate, Brian Fraser, ranked third. Other competitors from Liberty included Andy Fowler and Matthew Krause. All four are third-year students and soon to be graduates of the inaugural class of Liberty University School of Law.

The tournament was one of five regional tournaments held throughout the country and included 32 teams from 18 ABA accredited law schools. The top four teams from each regional tournament will advance to the national competition, regarded as the national championship for moot court.

After three rounds of preliminary competition, the team of Mr. Johnson and Mr. Fraser advanced to the quarterfinals by beating North Carolina Central University School of Law and Barry University School of Law. The University of Mississippi School of Law team, one of the four teams to advance to national competition, defeated them in the quarterfinal round of competition.

Up against another team that eventually advanced to the national tournament, the team of Mr. Fowler and Mr. Krause was defeated by American University – Washington College of Law in the preliminary round of competition.

Professor Scott Thompson, Director of the Center for Lawyering Skills and Faculty Advisor to the Moot Court Program, was clearly impressed with the performance of the students. “This was the first national competition that Liberty University School of Law has participated in, and all four of our advocates were outstanding in every one of the oral argument rounds.”

Students started preparing for this tournament over the Christmas break and submitted briefs mid-January. The case was set as an argument before the United States Supreme Court involving questions of the reasonableness of a search, the fourth amendment, and the appropriate interpretation of the Sentencing Reform Act. Alongside Professor Thompson, Professor Rena Lindevaldsen helped prepare and coach the teams for the oral argument portion of the competition.

Liberty University School of Law teams have already competed in tournaments at the College of William and Mary School of Law and Regent University School of Law and will compete in tournaments at the University of Buffalo, the University of Cincinnati, and the Federal Bar Tournament held in Washington, D.C. The school will also host its third annual 1L (first-year) tournament in April.