The Salmon P Chase College of Law’s students finished third as national semi-finalists in the nation’s first Moot Court Competition in the area of child welfare and adoption law March 11.
In Columbus, Ohio, the Chase College of Law’s Moot Court team competed against 18 other teams from law schools across the United States and presented legal arguments regarding assisted reproduction, privacy and wrongful adoption.
The Chase College of Law’s Moot Court team members Leanne Gagliardi and Jennifer Hedge won first place in the Best Brief Award and also finished in third place.
The Best Brief Award is considered one of the highest honors at a national competition. The award recognizes the writers’ abilities to research and analyze issues impacting the legal setting and set forth a cohesive argument that will convince the court to decide in their favor.
Gagliardi also received second place and Hedge received fourth place for oral advocate in the preliminary round.
“This is a very exciting honor,” Gagliardi said. “Being recognized for this prestigious award is encouraging because it means that I have the ability to use my skills to convince people about issues that will impact the current legal setting.”
Moot Court competitions give law students a chance to go head-to-head against other students.
The process involves the preparation of appellate briefs and the presentation of oral arguments in a fictional, but realistic, courtroom setting.
An important part of the competition score includes writing a brief to the court.
The teams then have to argue both sides of the case in front of the fictional Supreme Court of Capitana.
The basis of the problem the law students confronted in this year’s competition dealt with new technological frontiers in assisted reproduction.
The situation involved a fictitious statue that stated frozen embryos can only be transferred by using formal adoption procedures.
“We were so proud to have been two of the 19 teams attending the competition with a keen desire in promoting awareness of the adoption process and its positive impact on children,” Gagliardi said.
Justice Maureen O’Connor, of the Supreme Court of Ohio, presided over the final round and presented the national champion, runner-up and best oral advocate awards at the end of the competition.
“This year’s Child Welfare and Adoption Law Competition participants offered lively advocacy on a topic that provokes strong feelings and great public interest,” Justice O’Connor said, according to Capital University’s web site.
“I am always impressed with the quality advocacy demonstrated in law school moot court competition.”
Capital University Law School’s National Center for Adoption Law ‘ Policy partnered with four other prominent child advocacy organizations to host the competition including the National Association of Counsel for Children and the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys.