Students successful at regional moot court competition

Three University of Tennessee College of Law students have advanced to the finals of the National Moot Court Competition.

Third-year law student Andrew Cox, and second-year students Kayla Rask and Regan Sherrell, competed on behalf of UT Law in the Region 7 competition earlier this month in Memphis.

The students defeated teams from Vanderbilt University, Faulkner University, Loyola University of New Orleans, and the University of Mississippi in the preliminary, quarter-final, and semi-final rounds. The University of Tennessee team placed second to the University of Memphis in the final round.  

Additionally, the students’ brief tied for second, one-tenth of a point behind the first-place brief.  

Cox said preparation for the regional event began in October when the students received the details of the case they’d be arguing during the competition. They first completed their brief and submitted it “with only ten minutes to spare,” he said. 

The team then spent four weeks practicing oral arguments with their coach, Emeritus Professor John Sobieski, in front of faculty and former national moot court team members.

“There was no shortage of professors who volunteered to read our brief, the record, and then come and sit on our bench and help prepare us for the competition,” Sherrell said. “Thanks to them I didn’t get a single question that I wasn’t already prepared to answer.”

The National Moot Court Competition is an annual event, sponsored by the New York City Bar Association’s National Moot Court Competition Committee and the American College of Trial Lawyers, and is designed to promote the art of appellate advocacy. 

More than 120 law schools compete annually in regional rounds throughout the United States, with the top two teams in each region advancing to final rounds at the New York City Bar Association.

It is one of the longest running and honored competitions of its kind, allowing student advocates to hone their appellate advocacy skills before prominent members of the legal profession. 

Sobieski said the students will continue refining their arguments and will resume their practice in January in advance of the national event that will be held Feb. 10 through Feb. 13 in New York.

Regardless of the outcome going forward, Sherrell said she’s proud of what the team has accomplished. 

“This is something that scared me to death, I was so nervous and worried that I didn’t have enough experience or that I would bring the team down. But I had teammates who encouraged me and helped me along the way,” she said. “There is nothing like seeing your hard work pay off.”