Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA
 

News Release

November 27, 2007
Moot Court Teams Return from First Amendment and Entertainment Law Competitions with Honors

Upholding its tradition in excellence in the Moot Court arena, Southwestern's teams excelled at the Burton D. Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court Competition held in early November in Washington, D.C., as well as at the Tenth Annual National Entertainment Law Moot Court Competition held in mid-November at Pepperdine Law School in Malibu.

The Weschler team
(From left) Linet Bidrossian, Nick Francescon, Professor Catherine Carpenter (standing) and Julia Romano.
The Weschler team, consisting of writer Nick Francescon and oralists Julia Romano and Linet Bidrossian competed against 30 other teams and earned Second Place after a close 3 to 2 vote in the final round. Francescon's brief also garnered Second Place and Romano won the Best Finalist Oralist award.

 

In the competition, Southwestern's team represented a law school that was sued by a religious student organization, Lawyers for Christ (LFC). The law school denied LFC official recognition, claiming that the organization's bylaws requiring all members to sign a faith pledge condemning sexual activity outside of marriage, including homosexual conduct. The law school contended that these rules discriminated against homosexuals and violated the school's policy. LFC claimed that the school's actions violated both its First Amendment right to expressive association and the Establishment Clause. "As counsel for the school, we argued that the school did not violate LFC's expressive association rights because the school's policy permissibly regulates conduct, not speech," Romano said. "Similarly, the school's policy comports with the Establishment Clause because the policy was neutral, generally applicable, and did not promote or prohibit any particular religion."

Romano, a third-year day student, said that dealing with the "hard" facts of the problem was a challenge. "There were a few facts in the problem that seemed completely against our side but we were creative and addressed them - either arguing why those facts were irrelevant or why they were actually favorable to our side. I guess that is the art (and the fun!) of appellate advocacy."

 

Preparation, experience (Francescon, who serves as Moot Court Chair, is also a third-year day student, and Bidrossian is in SCALE II) and teamwork helped Southwestern's trio prepare. "Our team got along famously which I think really gave us the edge. We were all so positive and so supportive of each other throughout the entire process that by the time we got to competition we were really ready to compete - both substantively and mentally."

 

Romano also credits Professor Carpenter and Board Advisor Lindsay Harrell's contributions to the team's success. "This team worked incredible hard and very well together from the first moment that the problem was received," Professor Carpenter said. "Their chemistry was terrific."

 

National Entertainment Law team
(from left) Tara Rose, Shara Davenport and  Jessica Munoz
The National Entertainment Law team consisting of oralists Jessica Munoz and Tara Rose, and swing Shara Davenport competed against 22 other teams, including Fordham Law School, Texas Wesleyan School of Law, Michigan State University College of Law, University of the Pacific - McGeorge School of Law and UC Hastings College of the Law, and earned the First Place Respondent Brief award. Rose argued issues regarding whether an online service provider is secondarily liable if it can show substantial non-infringing uses and whether the copyright holder supplied sufficient notice to the online service provider as required by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Munoz argued whether a website's use of its name constitutes a prior use in commerce under the Lantham Act as compared with another and whether use of a trademark as a metatag is an infringing activity under the Lantham Act. Rose is a fourth-year evening student and December graduate, Munoz is a second-year day student, and Davenport is a second-year day student who won the Best Brief award at Southwestern’s Intramural Moot Court Competition last year. The team was advised by Professors Robert Lind and Lon Sobel, as well as Moot Court Board Member Kim Roque.