Moot Court Team Returns from Stetson Competition International Champions
Southwestern's Moot Court program continues to shine, as Katie Darnell and James Engel Perero won the Stetson International Environmental Law Moot Court Competition held November 8-11 in Tampa, Florida. Participating teams competed in two phases: a regional (national) qualifying competition against law schools from the U.S. and Australia, and an international competition against top teams from around the world.
Southwestern's team finished as finalists in the regional round, which qualified them to advance to the international competition. In addition, Darnell earned the honor of Second Place Oralist in the regional portion of the event. In the international round, Darnell and Engel Perero competed against teams from John Marshall and Hastings, as well as international teams from Brazil, India, and Sydney, Australia. In the end, the Southwestern team prevailed in front of a bench of international environmental law scholars, practitioners, and human rights attorneys. Darnell also earned the Best Oralist title in the international round.
"We are proud to add this great achievement to a long line of Southwestern moot court titles," Dean Bryant Garth said.
The team spent several weeks preparing for the competition, working on a problem that concerned two fictitious nations: a big country, "DeLand" and its lack of greenhouse gas regulation killing the coral reefs of a small country, "Acropora." Acropora - Latin for coral - sued DeLand.
"We were the respondent. We were the 'bad guy'," said Darnell, a second-year student in the SCALE (Southwestern's Conceptual Approach to Legal Education) program. "I think we won because we went a step further. Industry self regulation is a valid policy and we substantiated our arguments."
Engel Perero pointed out the 14 practice rounds they worked at during a six week period with a variety of practitioners and advisors judging helped them prepare as well. "Our hope was to qualify for international," said Engel Perero, a second-year day program student. "So we exceeded our highest expectations."
While the Sydney team defeated Southwestern three times in the qualifying and preliminary rounds, Southwestern had higher oral scores in those rounds and was able to win across the board in the international round.
Southwestern alumni, which included two members of last year's Second Place team of the same competition - Nanette Reed '06 and Edward Wiley '06 - along with Melanie Partow '04, advised this year's winning team. "Of particular note is our team's success over the team from Sydney, Australia. It was well deserved," Partow said.
Southwestern has one of the largest moot court programs in the country, with teams competing in more than a dozen competitions annually.