Elon Law students advance to national finals of moot court contest

A strong showing in a regional round of the National Moot Court Competition earned Kim Clark L’21 and Jessica Leach L’21 a berth in the winter finals of a prestigious event co-hosted by the New York City Bar Association and the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Two students made Elon Law history when their performance in a regional round of this year’s National Moot Court Competition propelled them to the upcoming national finals of the estimable appellate advocacy contest.

Kim Clark L’21 and Jessica Leach L’21 competed against a team from William & Mary Law School in the penultimate round of the Region Four qualifier hosted virtually from November 6-7 by the Virginia Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division.

With their second-place regional finish, Clark and Leach advanced to the February finals of the 71st annual National Moot Court Competition, which is described as “one of the longest-running competitions of its kind.” The national finals are co-sponsored by the New York City Bar Association and the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Clark and Leach’s achievement marks the first time an Elon Law team has advanced to the national finals of the competition.

“Jessica and Kim crafted strong arguments and were impressive in their ability to respond to challenging questions from the judges,” said Senior Associate Dean Alan Woodlief, director of Elon Law’s Moot Court Program and the team’s coach. “I’m excited for them to get a chance to compete in the national finals of one the oldest and most prestigious moot court competitions in the country.”

Clark and Leach won four consecutive matches – two preliminary rounds against teams from Louisville and Campbell, a quarterfinal round against Kentucky, and a semifinal round against William & Mary – to reach the final round.

Leach said she looks forward to refining her argument and representing Elon Law at the national event.

“This was my first moot court competition for Elon Law and it was a surreal experience to advance this far,” Leach said. “Oral advocacy is a unique skill and I am grateful for the opportunity to continuously develop and grow. I couldn’t have accomplished this much without my partner, Kim, and my coach, Dean Woodlief, helping me along the entire way.”

Clark said that participating in the competition “was truly a gift of connectivity in this remote world in which we are navigating law school.”

“I am grateful for the opportunities to have worked so closely with Jessica and to have benefited from Dean Woodlief’s insights and guidance,” she said. “Our arduous hours of preparation and practice reaped an outcome beyond my expectations. I am honored to represent Elon Law with my teammate in February.”

Nor were Clark and Leach the only Elon Law students to be recognized in the Region Four qualifier. Christine Cline L’20 and Spenser Sullivan L’20 advanced to the quarterfinal round and were recognized for submitting the third-best brief in the competition. Cline and Sullivan were coached by Andrea Davis L’12, an adjunct professor at Elon Law and an alumna of the Moot Court Program.

Elon Law’s collective success in the National Moot Court Competition continued a productive Fall Trimester for the Moot Court Program. In October, another Elon Law team advanced to the quarterfinals and took second-best brief honors in the Hassell National Moot Court Competition hosted by Regent University School of Law.

Also in October, the Elon Law Moot Court Board hosted the largest ever Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition, with 48 teams from across the country competing.

Learn more about the accomplishments of Elon Law’s student Moot Court Board.