The Buffalo Law Experience

Law School moot court teams advance in national and international competitions

In the early months of 2015, the yearly high-point of national moot court activity, teams from the School of Law repeatedly distinguished themselves once again. In at least three different cases, a team from the law school reached all the way to the semi-final round in a “sudden death” elimination tournament.

A summary of their successes and achievements now follows:

Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition

Front row: Stacey Walker ‘15, Anaiss Rijo ‘16, Oscar Kpota ‘15, Meghan Hart ‘16, Sarah Draper ‘16, Michelle Santiago ’16. Back row:  Anna McCarthy ‘15, Anastasia Stumpf ‘15, De'Jon Hall ‘16, Jerry Whalen ‘16, Mohammed Haque ‘15, and Andrea DiLuglio ‘15.

Six teams from UB competed in the annual Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition at the Northeast Regional Convention of the National Black Law Students Association in Groton, Connecticut from January 28 to February 1, 2015. Five of the six advanced to the tournament’s Sweet Sixteen following the event’s three preliminary rounds. Two of those teams then advanced to the quarterfinals, and one of those went on to semi-final round. Sarah Draper, ’16 and Meghan Hart, ’16, were the semi-finalists. Anna McCarthy, ’15, and Michelle Santiago, ’16, had advanced to the quarterfinals. This annual civil rights competition required each team to prepare an appellate brief during the fall 2014 term, as well as to present oral argument at the convention in a hypothetical case involving voting rights and other issues.

The other UB participants were Anastasia Stumpf '15, Oscar Kpota '15, Anaiss Rijo '16, Stacey Walker '15, Gerald Whalen '16, De'Jon Hall '16, Andrea DiLuglio '15, and Mohammed Haque '15. These teams were coached by Caitlin O'Neil '15, Mark Murphy '15, Katherine Ellis '15, Samih Tayeh '15, and Todd Potter '15. During the January term, further assistance was provided by alumni/ae Shayna Eichen '14, Edyne Paul '14, and Paul Meabon '14, who served as practice-round judges.

The Frederick Douglass team is supported by the School of Law’s Black Law Student Association.

Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court (the “Jessup Cup”)

In late February, the School of Law once again sent an exceptionally strong team to the Jessup Cup’s Midwest Super Regional competition in Chicago. The Jessup Cup is the most prestigious and best-known moot court competition in the world. In 2014, the UB team swept the regional round, advanced to the international round in Washington, D.C. - and then advanced all the way to the “sweet sixteen” round of a competition in which 620 teams from 89 countries had taken part. Two of Buffalo’s 2014 representatives finished among the top 10 oralists in the entire world. The 2015 Super Regional competition took place on February 20 to 22.

The 2015 UB team, comprised of Brittany M. Crowley ‘15, Steven R. Fisher ’14, Stephanie L. Forman ‘15, Kathryn Krause ’14, and Amanda Ruth Webber ’15, swept all four of the Midwest Super Regional’s preliminary rounds and defeated the University of Michigan Law School team in the quarterfinals, advancing to the semi-final round for the third straight year. It met its match in the form of Wayne State University Law School in the regional semi-finals. The UB team won fourth place in the brief (in international law “memorial”) writing category. Fisher and Crowley won the awards for, respectively, the fourth and ninth best oralists after the preliminary rounds.

Our successful team was coached once again by Kevin Espinosa ’09, of M&T Bank, and Michael Hecker ’09, of Hodgson Russ, the same coaching team behind last year’s run to the world’s top.

The Jessup Moot Court Board is responsible for the funding and management of School of Law’s annual participation in this competition.

Niagara International Moot Court (the “Niagara Cup”)

Ethan Notarius '15, Nikolay Feodoroff '16, and Merrick Sadler '16

The School of Law made another strong showing at the Niagara International Moot Court Competition held in Washington, D.C. from February 19 to 21. This team also advanced to the event’s semi-finals. This venerable international law competition is sponsored by the Canada-United States Law Institute and focuses on cross-border issues. It draws teams from all over the United States and Canada. Two years ago, UB won the Niagara Cup for the first time in forty years.

The 2015 Buffalo Niagara Cup team consisted of Ethan Notarius '15, Nikolay Feodoroff '16, and Merrick Sadler '16. In addition to advancing to the semifinal round, the SUNY Buffalo team also brought home the award for Second Best Respondent Brief and the Henry T. King Jr. Award, which is presented to the team that best embodies the spirit of the Niagara Cup Competition. Team member Merrick Sadler won the competition’s award for Fifth Best Advocate.

The School of Law’s 2015 Niagara Cup team was coached by Jonathan Dominik '13 of Feldman Kieffer, LLP. The Jessup Moot Court Board is responsible for the funding and management of UB’s annual participation in this competition. 

Jeffrey Miller National Environmental Law Moot Court

Student coach Christine Sullivan '15 (center) with teammates John Darnall '16 and Amy Counter '16.

Under the leadership of Associate Professor Jessica Owley, the School of Law has only recently returned to this competition after a long hiatus. In the 2015 competition, held at Pace Law School on February 19 to 21, UB was represented by a team comprised of John Darnell ’16, and Amy Counter ’16. The 2015 Competition Problem involved several complex issues relating to waterway access and pollution from large farms.

In their preliminary round outings, the School of Law team opposed the two teams that ultimately won the competition’s awards for best and second best briefs, and, along with two-thirds of the teams attending, did not advance to the higher rounds of the competition.

Christine Sullivan ’15, served as a student coach, acting in tandem with Professor Owley, who has integrated an oral advocacy exercise relating to this Competition into her course “Current Topics in Environmental Law.”