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Law school team takes first place in securities law competition

Third-year Liberty University School of Law students Joshua Turner (left) and James Sosnoski recently took first place in a moot court tournament at Fordham University. (Photos courtesy of David Thompson)

Liberty University School of Law took first place in the Fordham University School of Law annual Irving R. Kaufman Memorial Moot Court Competition this past weekend in New York City. This was Liberty’s first time entering the competition, a moot court tournament focused on securities and exchange regulation.

The finals round was judged by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Judge Andrew Hurwitz from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Judge Paul Kelly from the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and Judge Jane Roth from the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Liberty’s tandem of James Sosnoski and Joshua Turner, both third-year law students, dominated preliminary play on Friday and Saturday before sweeping through Saturday’s quarterfinals and Sunday’s semifinals and finals against teams from Southern Methodist University, the University of Iowa, and Florida State University, respectively. Other law schools represented at the competition included Georgetown University, the University of Florida, New York University, the University of North Carolina, the University of Virginia, the University of Wisconsin, Brooklyn Law School, and Duke University.

Professor Rodney Chrisman, a coach for Liberty’s team, noted that a number of the schools in the competition are not only among the top 50 programs in the country, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, but are also well known for securities, corporate, or business law.

“This tournament proved that Liberty can compete with any major law school in the area of securities,” Chrisman said. “And to not only be able to compete, but to win decisively was a real treat.”

After the tournament, Sosnoski, Turner, and the coaches had the chance to interact with Justice Alito.

“Not many law students get the opportunity to present an argument before a sitting Supreme Court Justice,” Chrisman said. “This is the only competition that he is judging this year. He had very high praise for our team’s argument, and he was very impressed.”

Professor Scott Thompson is Liberty’s faculty advisor to the Moot Court Board and coached the team on argument skills while Chrisman, who teaches securities courses, served as a subject matter expert.

Thompson said that among moot court competitions, the Kaufman competition is one of the most prestigious. The tournament regularly brings in Supreme Court justices and Circuit Court judges to judge the final rounds.

“We knew that Josh and James would be a good team but from the very first round they displayed a mastery that was unequaled,” Thompson said. “We are extremely proud of what they accomplished. Representing this school and the Lord this weekend was our top priority and we thank Him for the results.”

This was the third Championship won by Liberty’s moot court team this spring.

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