Published June 19, 2014
On January 23-27, twelve second and third year students from SUNY Buffalo Law School made an unprecedentedly strong showing in the Northeast Regional Round of the national Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition (FDMCC) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, held during the recent Northeast Black Law School Association Convention. One of these SUNY Buffalo Law School teams was among the three selected to advance to the National Competition, to be held in Atlanta, Georgia on March 6-10. Another SUNY Buffalo Law School team won the award for Best Petitioner Brief. The FDMCC is a national appellate advocacy competition organized each year since 1975 by the National Black Law Student Association, the largest law student organization in the United States.
In the 2013 FDMCC Northeast Regionals, all six teams from SUNY Buffalo Law School advanced through the elimination rounds to the regional “Sweet Sixteen.” The team members were Jasmine M. Liverpool ‘14 and Eric V. Tabache ‘14, Joseph A. Grasso ‘14 and Eric T. Glynn ‘13, Sarah E. Tanbakuchi ‘14 and Shayna D. Eichen ‘14, Kimberly A. Rowles ‘13 and Ian A. Bigelow ‘14, Luisa D. Johnson ‘14 and Edyne Paul ‘14, Franz M. Wright ‘14 and Adam M. Faeth ‘14. Bigelow and Rowles, together with Wright and Faeth, progressed further, to the competition’s quarterfinals. Wright and Faeth then advanced again from the quarterfinals to the “final four,” where they qualified to be one of the three Northeast Regional teams advancing to the national competition in Atlanta. In addition to these courtroom triumphs, the Law School team of Eichen and Tanbakuchi received the Best Petitioner Brief Award for the entire Northeast region.
In order to be chosen to represent SUNY Buffalo Law School in the FDMCC, students are required to compete in an intramural selection process by submitting a case brief and making a mock oral argument during the spring preceding the Competition. Successful competitors are then matched into teams of two. For the FDMCC, each team is required to complete a thirty-page brief based upon a fictional fact pattern presenting constitutional issues. At the Northeast Regional Competition, teams are required to argue at least three times before the selection of the “Sweet Sixteen.” The Northeast Regional Competition is one of six regional competitions that select a total of eighteen teams for the national finals in Atlanta.
SUNY Buffalo Law School has participated in the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition for many years. This year’s FDMCC fact pattern dealt with a potentially discriminatory Environmental Protection Agency compliance order under the Clean Water Act and the Constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. As students prepared for the Competition, the Minority Bar Association of Western New York engaged several attorneys to act as guest judges and provide feedback during FDMCC oral argument practice rounds in January. Guest judges included Joseph S. Brown, David L. Edmunds, Jr., Stephanie J. Calhoun ’08, Gary A. Wilson ’08, and Frank H. Ewing ’12.