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Second Annual Tournament Reaches Verdict

April 04, 2006


Nathaniel Johnson and Derek Bush



Runner-up Derek Bush (left) with Champion Nathaniel Johnson

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Thomas Parker was one of five judges who named Nathaniel Johnson (right) as Champion of the Second Annual 1L Moot Court Tournament held at Liberty University School of Law on April 1. Along with Johnson, the “Final Four” participants included Derek Bush (Runner-up), Blakney Boggs, and Brandon Osterbind. According to the judges, all argued at a level beyond their level of education and experience. Amanda Duke was named the Best Oralist through the preliminary rounds.

Each member of the first-year class was assigned to represent either the City of Lynchburg or Lynn Smith to argue a hypothetical case. Over the four-day tournament, each student made at least two arguments. After the first two rounds, the top sixteen students advanced to the semi-finals where they had to be prepared to argue either side of the case. The top speaker from each of the four semifinal rounds advanced to the finals.

Professor Scott Thompson, Director of the Center for Lawyering Skills, invited local attorneys and judges to participate in the tournament. They served as judges for the tournament and critiqued each student’s argument. Students appreciated the valuable feedback provided over the course of the tournament.

Johnson commented, “The competition, and the preparation that went into it, has helped build my skills

Moot Court



Johnson delivers his argument to the judges in the final round

as a lawyer, and prepared me to argue for God’s moral law. The judges’ comments were constructive and helpful, and I am so grateful that I, as a mere 1L, could receive feedback from an honorable Alabama Supreme Court Justice, several District Court Judges, and the City’s attorney.”

Judges were impressed with the level of argument brought to the competition. The Honorable Mark S. Davis, Circuit Court Judge for Portsmouth, commented, “The quality of these arguments exceeds the level that I hear in my courts. I am very impressed”.

Justice Parker encouraged the students to pursue excellence in oral advocacy and credited his success to his oral advocacy. Justice Parker praised the law school for its emphasis on skills training and stated that he was quite impressed with what he saw in the students.

The final round judges included, The Honorable Justice Thomas Parker, Alabama Supreme Court; The Honorable James C. Turk, U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia; The Honorable Mark S. Davis, Circuit Court, Portsmouth; The Honorable William W. Sweeney, Circuit Court, Lynchburg, retired; and Mr. Walter Erwin, III, City Attorney, Lynchburg, Virginia.