Celebrating two milestones for Moot Court program

Elon Law’s Moot Court Board hosted its largest-ever intramural competition this spring with a contest conducted online for the first time in program history.

When must a company comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act if an employee injured on the job requests a “reasonable accommodation” with a transfer but more qualified candidates are available to fill the open position?

And when would an undue hardship exempt an employer from making such an accommodation? What if the employer, instead of transferring the current employee, instead hires a job candidate with another qualified disability?

Does that matter?

Those were just some of the questions presented to Elon Law students participating in the 2020 Intramural Moot Court Competition, which involved a fictional lawsuit on appeal for summary judgement involving a small home improvement store by a worker permanently disabled in the course of his work.

Todd Kendrick L’May’17, an attorney with Jackson & Campbell, P.C., in Washington, D.C., was among the Elon Law alumni who volunteered as judges for the 2020 Intramural Moot Court Competition.

The 2020 intramural competition recorded two milestones in May: with 76 entrants, it is the largest ever intramural contest to be coordinated by the Elon Law Moot Court Board, and because the COVID-19 pandemic required Elon Law to move its classroom instruction online for the spring trimester, the competition was the first to be hosted online.

The move online made possible the recruitment of judges from Elon Law’s alumni ranks who scored competitors from locations around the United States, including Washington, New Orleans, and Denver. Other volunteers included attorneys and judges from Greensboro who have been longtime supporters of Elon Law’s Moot Court Program.

“I am incredibly proud of our Moot Court Board members for the exceptional job they did hosting the school’s first virtual moot court competition, which was also our largest competition to date,” said Alan Woodlief, senior associate dean and director of the Moot Court Program. “The online format allowed Elon Law alumni from all around the country to join faculty members, administrators and local attorneys as judges in the contest.

Hunter Cornelius L’20, co-chair of the judges committee for the 2020 Intramural Moot Court Competition, with (on screen) Kia Barrett L’20 and Julianna Kober L’20, co-chairs for the full competition.

“Without question it was a powerful way to forge connections between current and former Elon Law students and other members of the law school community.”

Hosting a virtual competition also required changes in the competition format and competitor recognition. The intramural competition typically is held in tournament format as teams advance through brackets to a final round held in the Robert E. Long Courtroom. The contest this year recognized oral advocates based on their individual oral argument scores in two rounds. Top oral advocates will receive a plaque in recognition of their accomplishments.

The Top 11 Oral Advocates in the 2020 competition:

1. Joseph De Mond

2. Jessica Leach

3. Cameron Nieters

4. Dan Esposito

5. Jacob Beeson

6. Michael Cline

7. (tie) Allison Thomas

7. (tie) Emily Slusser

8. Kimberly Clark

9. Mara Frisch

10. Allison Pickle

“I love advocacy and litigation, so this competition has been on my calendar since the first trimester,” said De Mond, who competed remotely from Illinois and is currently working for the summer with the St. Clair County State’s Attorney Office. “My biggest takeaway was how special our community is. The support and love from fellow students and teachers was so impactful. Even in isolation our Elon community is strong.”

The Hon. Sarah Neely Lanier L’10 (left), a judge for the North Carolina District Court, was among those who volunteered to judge the May competition.

Leach and Nieters both said they were initially reluctant to enter the competition because, in the words of both from separate reflections, it was “outside my comfort zone.” Once registered, they each started preparations with encouragement from professors and in coordination with their respective teammates.

“I am so glad I chose to compete because I feel more confident in my oral advocacy skills and am looking forward to the opportunity to continue to grow outside of my comfort zone and strengthen those skills!” Nieters said.

Competing virtually came with challenges, Leach said, such as low video compatibility and sounds that occasionally jumped. But “everyone was in the same boat,” she said, and the judges, bailiffs, and moot court board members were accommodating and understanding.

“While I personally found the competition extremely nerve-wrecking and difficult, I am happy that I put myself out there,” Leach said. “I look forward to the opportunities this experience may bring me in the future.”

Mark K. York L’11, an attorney with Carruthers & Roth in Greensboro, was among the Elon Law alumni who volunteered to judge. He praised the Moot Court Board for its work in organizing the online competition and students for their poise.

Seventy-six students in Elon Law’s Class of 2021 competed in the first virtual intramural contest hosted by Elon Law’s Moot Court Board, which was judged by volunteers that included law school faculty, staff, and alumni, among other attorneys and judges from the North Carolina legal community.

“The use of technology for the sessions was seamless,” York said. “The electronic scoring was far superior to all prior scoring methods. The competitors adapted well to the web-based sessions and maintained their professionalism throughout. From the four rounds I judged, there were definitely students who stood out as exceptional and I expect will represent Elon well both in the near and long term.”

Selections for membership on the Moot Court Board will be announced later this summer. The Moot Court Board hosts the 11th Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition from October 22-24, 2020, and members will compete in a full slate of national moot court competitions during the 2020-21 academic year.

Read about the competition successes of our students here.

2020 Intramural Moot Court Competition Committee Chairs
  • Overall Competition: Kia Barrett & Julianna Kober
  • Judge Committee: Tori Ford & Hunter Cornelius
  • Bailiff Committee: Christine Cline & Brooke LaMachio
  • Scoring Committee: Chris Schroeder & Dan Walsh
  • LMC Practice Rounds: Ben Parsons & Mike Logsdon

Other members of the Board worked diligently on the competition and are listed here.

Danielle Prongay Kendrick ’14 L’May’17, a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., was among the Elon Law alumni who volunteered to help judge the 2020 Intramural Moot Court Competition.
Elon Law Alumni Who Served as Judges
  • Adam Etzel
  • Andrea Davis
  • Barbara Cini
  • Danielle Kendrick
  • David Wheaton
  • Elizabeth Leo
  • Emily Chatzky
  • Haley Mendola
  • Hannah Tombaugh
  • Jackie McKeon
  • Jaclyn Maffetore
  • Jalisa Roberts
  • Jeff Porter
  • Jenny Sweet
  • John Boschini
  • John Warren
  • Judson MacCallum
  • Kathleen Lynch
  • Kathy Stewart
  • Katie Perkins
  • Kayla Britt
  • Logan DeHart
  • Maddie Turpen
  • Mark York
  • Matt Krueger-Andes
  • Matthew Groves
  • Melissa Duncan
  • Melissa Watkins
  • Melissa Westmoreland
  • Sarah Lanier
  • Shanelle Edmonds
  • Spencer Warren
  • Stephanie Stradling
  • Tiffany Atkins
  • Todd Kendrick