Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

June 12, 2008
SCALE Students Demonstrate Their Advocacy Skills

Chad Clement got a double dose of good news at the SCALE Appellate Advocacy Competition Awards Reception this year - the first-year SCALE student was named Second Place Oralist and Second Alternate Writer. "I thought everyone did really well," Clement said. "I was very impressed with the oral arguments I heard."


The First Place Oralist title was awarded to Andrew Caple-Shaw. A professional actor for many years before coming to law school, Caple-Shaw said that this kind of meaningful advocacy was one of the main reasons he left a career in TV and film for law school. "The acting experience took the fear out of getting up in front of the judges," he said. "There are people in my class who are a heck of a lot smarter than I am, but I am not afraid to fail. The process was loads of fun, and I have to give credit to everybody who was in on it. It's a credit to the SCALE dynamic."

Tiffany Woo was named First Place Writer. She credited their Legal Analysis, Writing and Skills (LAWS) professor for making the process as smooth as possible. "Professor Lorillard did a good job of talking us through the steps," she said. "I spent a lot of time writing the brief. Too much time!" In addition to Woo and Clement, writing honors were awarded to Second Place Writer Jieun Jacobs and First Alternate Writer Zoe Jamail. Alexa Wolff was named First Alternate Oralist and Kenneth Holdren was named Second Alternate Oralist.

The winners
The winners with Shara Davenport (far left) and Professor Harriet Rolnick (far right)

Professor Harriet Rolnick, director of SCALE, has described the kind of student who performs well in the accelerated two-year J.D. degree program as "a self starter who is highly motivated... and enjoys learning by both hearing about material and getting their hands into it by participating in various projects." The annual Appellate Advocacy Competition provides an experience that involves that and more.

The Competition gives first-year students the opportunity to develop appellate brief writing and oral advocacy skills. All first-year SCALE students must participate in the first two rounds. This year, half the class also chose to participate in the optional third round that is judged by SCALE alumni and members of the Moot Court Board of Governors. "We were very gratified by the turnout (at the third round)," said day student Shara Davenport, a member of the Moot Court Board who presented awards to the winners of the SCALE competition.

SCALE students argued the same case that Students in Southwestern's traditional programs tackled in April during their annual Intramural Moot Court Competition. Professor Tracy Turner, Director of the LAWS program, wrote the problem with contributions from fellow LAWS Professors Tara Walters and Karin Graver. In the fictitious scenario, a 17-year-old girl who lived with her family in a self-governed community of the American Communities for Truth and Justice (ACTJ) religion, died after being counseled by a member of the Council of Elders who believed in self harm as an appropriate form of atonement, despite the ACTJ's stance against it. The ACTJ was appealing a summary judgment motion it filed and had been denied by the trial court. ACTJ also wanted to overturn a motion that would allow disclosure of a conversation that would violate clergy-parishioner privilege.