PUBLISHED:March 10, 2008

Duke's moot court teams notch big wins

March 7, 2008 ― It’s been a winning season for Duke Law School’s interscholastic moot court teams. On March 6, Destiny Duron-Deas ’08, Ryan Mellske ’09 and 1Ls Amber Jordan and David Chiang won the North American Regional Round of the ELSA World Trade Organization Moot Court competition, in Washington, D.C. Duron-Deas was named “best orator” in the elimination round. On Feb. 22, Jessica Brumley and Erin Blondel won the George Washington University Religious Freedom Moot Court Tournament, with Brumley named “best oral advocate.” And 2Ls Chad Jira and Jonathan Williams won the Southern Regional round of the Saul Lefkowitz Competition in Atlanta on Feb. 10, advancing to the national final which will be held on March 22. They won awards for “best brief,” “best oral argument,” and “best overall team.”

Associate Dean for Student Affairs Jill Miller offered high praise for the achievements of this year’s moot court teams.

“This is a banner year for us,” Miller said. “The team’s success at competitions across the country is a testament to the competitors, their student and alumni coaches, and the dedicated faculty who moot them before sending them into the field. We couldn’t be more proud of their many accomplishments.”

The North American Regional Round of the ELSA competition included teams from across the United States and Canada, with Duke facing Georgetown in the final. Both teams will advance as the North American representatives to the final rounds in Geneva in April, where they will compete in a global competition judged by WTO lawyers, staff, and panelists.

Coach Jason Cross ’08 was full of praise for a team he describes as “impressively cohesive, exhibiting the best of collective thinking and creativity.” Duron-Deas’ winning rebuttal was “like a half-court, three-point shot at the buzzer,” he said, also thanking Carla Reyes ’08 for helping moot, motivate, and organize the team.

Brumley and Blondel “put in an outstanding effort” in the Religious Freedom Moot Court Tournament, beating 22 teams from 16 schools, said coach Amanda Neely. “The judges had nothing but compliments for the team.” The competition deals with a current religious freedom issue that implicates a First Amendment controversy.

The Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition focuses on trademark and unfair competition law. Kyle Pousson ’08 coached the winning team.

Duke Law also had a strong showing in the National Moot Court competition held in New York in late January, when 3Ls Natalie Hirt, Mike Rosenberg, and Tadhg Dooley advanced to the semi-final founds, after being undefeated in the preliminary rounds. The team was coached by James Maxwell ’66.

Third-year students Katherine Crawford and Jade Totman chair the 2007-08 Moot Court Board.