Southwestern Wins Corporate Moot Court Competition
The winning combination of a dedicated team and a knowledgeable coach coalesced into triumph at the 22nd Annual Ruby R. Vale Interschool Corporate Moot Court Competition in Wilmington, Delaware. Southwestern's team of oralists Patricia Rosman and Brian Yeretzian and writer/alternate oralist Crystal Lara won the entire competition, defeating teams from 22 other law schools nationwide.
Southwestern's team - all second-year day students - had to argue two separate issues: the validity of shareholder-created bylaws and a board of directors' fiduciary duty to a corporation and its shareholders. "We really immersed ourselves in corporate law and understood our issues on a deeper level than other teams," Lara said. "That's what set us apart, that and our creative arguments."
She was excited to participate in a competition with prominent legal professionals such as Delaware Court of Chancery Chancellor William T. Allen, who judged the final round with Delaware Supreme Court Justices Jack B. Jacobs and Henry duPont Ridgely and Delaware Court of Chancery Vice Chancellors Donald F. Parsons, Jr. and J. Travis Laster. As swing oralist, Lara got to argue in the very first round and explained that unlike some of the other teams, Southwestern had to work off brief twice in the preliminaries.
Southwestern beat University of Miami School of Law in the first preliminary round, John Marshall Law School in the second preliminary round and in the Octa-finals, Capital University School of Law in the third preliminary round, William Mitchell College of Law in the Semi-finals, and Mercer University School of Law in the Finals. Some of the other participating teams included American University -Washington College of Law, Brooklyn Law School, Chicago Kent College of Law, Georgetown University, Marquette University Law School, Tulane University Law School and Villanova University School of Law.
"The team won because they never stopped thinking about their arguments; they never got to a point where they thought their arguments were 'good enough,'" said Professor Katherine Sheehan, who served as coach. "Every round was better and more interesting than the previous one. With each round they became more and more engaged with bleeding-edge issues of corporate law and how to resolve them. The final bench commented particularly on the 'creativity' of their arguments."
Lara explained that while teammate Yeretzian had completed Business Associations, both she and Rosman are still taking the course, which added to the challenge in a corporate law competition. But their coach made sure they were prepared. "Professor Sheehan was the one who really made us delve into the problem further. She really forced us to understand it more holistically," she said.
Artin Ghrabian, chair of the Moot Court Honors Program, served as the team advisor and was proud of what they accomplished. "One of the most important attributes of a moot court member is the ability to work within time constraints while juggling classes and outside responsibilities - all within a team dynamic," he said. "I have never seen a team so determined and focused... Also, Professor Sheehan's dedication, passion, and active involvement was critical to their success."