Elon hosts third Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition
Thirty-five teams of law students representing 24 law schools participated in the third annual Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition at Elon University School of Law on April 5 and 6.
Each team in the competition participated in three preliminary rounds of oral argument, after which the field was narrowed for octofinal, quarterfinal, semifinal and championship rounds. Teams submitted briefs in advance of the competition, representing either the Petitioner or the Respondent in a hypothetical case before the Supreme Court of the United States that focused on a constitutional law issue currently under consideration by the Court. Competitors were judged on the quality of their appellate brief and oral arguments.
The competition champions were Elizabeth Jung, Shelbi Cardwell and Landon Moyer of Florida Coastal School of Law. They won a well-contested final round against the second place team comprised of Stephanie Basom and Aaron Tatyrek of Texas Tech University School of Law.
Jung won the Best Oral Advocate award for the final round of the competition and took third place in Best Oral Advocacy Awards for preliminary rounds. Basom and Tatyrek won the Best Brief Award among Petitioners Briefs, receiving the highest overall brief score in the competition.
Semifinalist teams included Navjot Khinda, Bradley Moyer and James Sirois of Florida Coastal School of Law and Michael Hodge, Katherine Harrington and Kelsey Hope of South Texas College of Law. Hodge, Harrington and Hope also won the Best Brief Award among Respondents Briefs.
Nathan Harrill of Wake Forest University School of Law won the Best Oral Advocate award for preliminary rounds of the competition.
More than 100 distinguished judges and lawyers volunteered to serve as judges for the competition, including: The Honorable Robert H. Edmunds, Jr., Associate Justice, North Carolina Supreme Court; The Honorable Paul M. Newby, Associate Justice, North Carolina Supreme Court; The Honorable James G. Exum, Jr., Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court (ret.) and Distinguished Professor of the Judicial Process at Elon Law; The Honorable Lindsay R. Davis, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge, North Carolina Superior Court, Guilford County; The Honorable Richard L. Doughton, Special Superior Court Judge, North Carolina Superior Court; The Honorable James L. Gale, Special Superior Court Judge for Complex Business Cases, North Carolina Business Court; and The Honorable John M. Tyson, Recall Judge, North Carolina Court of Appeals and Emergency Superior Court Judge, North Carolina Superior Court. Twenty-eight Elon Law alumni served as judges as well. A list of judges serving in the 2013 competition is available here.
Chantelle Lytle, a member of the Class of 2013 and of the Moot Court Board at Elon Law, spoke at the competition banquet to thank all those who served as judges in the competition on behalf of both the Moot Court Board and Elon University School of Law. She also thanked members of the Board who provided leadership to the competition: Andy Jones (overall competition chair); her co-chair Sarah Boshears (bailiff committee); Daniel Harris and Jason Senges (judge committee); Will Drath and Trevor Huck (scoring and awards committee); and Grant Buckner (hospitality committee).
Alan Woodlief, Associate Dean for Administration, Associate Professor of Law, and Director of the Moot Court Program at Elon Law, thanked the 34 second- and third-year law students who form the 2012-2013 Moot Court Board for their contributions in organizing and hosting the competition.
“Each year, we are delighted to welcome law students from across the country to Elon to hone their advocacy skills in the Billings, Exum and Frye National Moot Court Competition,” Woodlief said. “We hope all visitors to Elon Law had an enjoyable and memorable experience. The 2013 competition welcomed more schools and more participants than any prior year. The credit for the growth and success of this national competition goes to the Moot Court Board members at Elon Law and particularly the committee chairs who host this event with great professionalism. We are also indebted to the distinguished members of the legal profession who volunteer their time to make this a highly educational experience for competitors and a first rate national moot court competition.”
The competition honors three of North Carolina's most distinguished lawyers: Rhoda Bryan Billings, James G. Exum, Jr. and Henry E. Frye. Each has served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina and in a variety of leadership positions within the legal profession and in public life. All three justices are founding members of Elon Law’s national advisory board. More information about Justices Billings, Exum and Frye is available here.
Exum delivered remarks at the competition banquet asking competitors to consider why so many of the nation’s politically divisive issues come before the judiciary for resolution.
“Passions that our people have differ from age to age and from time to time, but the lawyer’s job – your job – is ever the same,” Exum said. “Take on your client’s cause, if there is an arguably legal basis for it, and bring it to a court of law, and just as you competitors have being doing here over the last couple of days so well, advocate as vigorously and as fairly as you can for your client even if the passions for and against are running high. Bring the cause, knowing that the other side will be vigorously defended by able advocates for that position. That’s what great advocates do. They bring the causes. They defend the causes.”
Exploring the backgrounds and strategies of several famous oral advocates who have argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, Exum summarized a common thread in their role in the resolution of politically wrenching issues before the country.
“They did what lawyers as advocates, before and since, have always done,” Exum said. “They channeled the passions of their time from the din of the streets and the cry of the mob into the ordered discourse of a court of law.”
“The courts are then charged with resolving these issues on some rational basis, according to some neutral principle in the relatively quiet discourse of their conference rooms and their chambers, without regard to the passions raging outside,” Exum continued. “And when the decisions come down, there will be cries of criticism as well as reasoned disagreement, but that’s ok, so long as those who disagree remember that there was another side pressed upon the court, by those who believed in that side as ardently as the critics believed in theirs.”
Dr. Steven D. House, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Elon University, George R. Johnson, Jr., Dean and Professor of Law at Elon University School of Law, and Andy Jones offered welcoming remarks at the competition banquet. In addition to Jones and Lytle, fellow Moot Court Board members Grant Buckner, Will Drath, Trevor Huck and Gwendolyn Lewis delivered presentations at the competition banquet.
Additional details about the Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition are available at law.elon.edu/mootcourt.