Southwestern Takes First Place, Best Respondent's Brief and Best Oralist at National Moot Court Competition
Out of 25 teams from 16 law schools nationwide, Southwestern dominated in the fourth annual Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition at Elon University School of Law in North Carolina. Southwestern's Moot Court team of David Jones, Jessica Nadler and Candace Rodriguez not only won First Place, but the team also won Best Brief Award for the Respondent's Brief and Rodriguez was named Best Oralist.
Rodriguez credits her teammates with bringing so much talent to the table, especially because the team faced many changes that included replacing two of the three original members. "In hindsight, we are the little team that could," she said. "And when we swept this competition, it meant that much more to me because of how much we all had been through to get there. I have gained so much more confidence because of this competition."
In the final round, Southwestern defeated the team from Florida Coastal School of law. Other competition participants included: Atlanta's John Marshall Law School, Charleston School of Law, George Mason University School of Law, Howard University School of Law, New York Law School, Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center, Regent University School of Law, South Texas College of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law, University of Virginia School of Law, Wake Forest University School of Law, Wayne State University Law School, and William and Mary Law School.
Rodriguez also credits the team's coach, Professor Jenny Rodriguez-Fee, with helping the team, which had a month and a half to write the brief and 21 days to do 15 practice rounds. The hypothetical problem they argued dealt with a religious bakery owner, who refused to make a cake for a same sex ceremony for a gay couple because of his religious views. There was a public accommodations law that prevented his refusal because sexual orientation was a protected class of people under the statute. He claimed violation of his free speech rights under the First Amendment.