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Liberty Law Teams Advance to ABA National Finals

March 07, 2016

Six Liberty Law students were crowned regional champions in the American Bar Association National Appellate Advocacy Competition regional tournament held in Washington, DC, February 25-27, 2016. 

Zach Hurt, Robin Jenkins, Erika Lukenbill, Justin Reddington, Whitney Rutherford, and Wes Vorberger made up the two teams who posted identical 5-0 records and will advance to the national finals in Chicago in April.  This marks the second time in school history that both Liberty Law teams advanced to national finals and the sixth time that Liberty has advanced.

Reddington, Hurt, and Lukenbill posted preliminary round wins against American, Charleston, and Georgetown, before advancing to the semifinals.  In the semifinals, they beat a different team from Georgetown and then defeated Memphis to win their bracket and advance to nationals.

Rutherford, Vorberger, and Jenkins posted preliminary round wins against two teams from Capital and Washington and Lee before advancing to the semifinal round.  They beat Charleston in the semis and Georgetown in the finals to win their bracket and also advance to nationals.

Liberty Law, coached by Associate Dean Rena Lindevaldsen and Professor Scott Thompson, had the only teams at the tournament that were undefeated from start to finish and it marks the second time in school history that Liberty has accomplished this feat.

En route to their championship, the team of Hurt, Lukenbill, and Reddington won every judge’s ballot except one.  Jenkins, Rutherford, and Vorberger lost a total of two ballots through the course of the entire tournament.

In addition to the team awards, Rutherford was named Best Oralist at the tournament with an average oral score of over 95. Reddington and Hurt were named third and fourth Best Oralist respectively with average oral scores of over 93.  Although Vorberger did not receive an oralist award, he still posted an impressive average oral score of over 90.  The team of Jenkins, Rutherford and Vorberger also won the award for Second Best Brief award.

“While the results speak for themselves, we could not have been more pleased with the way that our teams argued and conducted themselves. Both teams exemplified Christ from the beginning to the end of the tournament. They did everything that we asked of them and more,” said Thompson. 

Lindevaldsen and Thompson also noted thanks to Professors Tim Todd and Grant Rost as well as the Moot Court Board for assisting with practices and Tyler Owens for serving as bailiff.

(Image - Pictured left to right: Erika Lukenbill, Zach Hurt, Justin Reddington, Wes Vorburger, Whitney Rutherford, and Robin Jenkins)