Southwestern Team Excels at International Moot Court Competition
At the 5th Annual Monroe E. Price Media Law Moot Court Competition at Cardozo Law School in New York, Southwestern performed exceptionally well, earning awards for outstanding advocacy and brief writing. The team of Matthew Alsberg, Isaiah Costas-Barofsky, Christopher Lloyd and Almara Sepanian made it to the semifinals at the Americas Regional Rounds, which featured 21 teams from North America, Central America and South America. Southwestern finished within the top four teams at the competition, losing to eventual overall winner Brooklyn Law School during semifinals. This strong showing earned the team a trip to Oxford, England, to compete in the international rounds of the Price Media Law Moot Court Programme.
Alsberg and Sepanian received awards for Best Memorials (best briefs) in the regional competition. Costas and Lloyd also received Outstanding Oral Advocacy awards, finishing as two of the top five oralists (out of more than 50 competitors) at the competition. Southwestern was the only participating team to have more than one of its competitors win an oralist award.
Professor Alexandra D'Italia served as the team's advisor. "Isaiah and Chris both performed as consummate professionals," she said. "They were responsive to the bench's questions; they were persuasive and engaging in their arguments. I am not only proud of them, but of Matt and Almara who wrote persuasive and compelling briefs. All four of them make teaching an absolute pleasure."
The team had to argue whether the deactivation of numerous cell phone towers around a riot comply with international free expression, free assembly, and free association rights; if the forced disclosure of social media data and identities under a criminal investigation violate the right to privacy; if the resulting criminal convictions for terrorism and inciting a riot comport with the aforementioned rights; and if the defamation judgments against a journalist and a social media platform violate free expression.
Costas-Barofsky said the team has worked diligently on the problem since September. "We obviously prepared extremely well....but I believe that what elevated my argument was the pressure of the competition," he said. "For example, we argued in front of Senior General Counsel for the NY Times and General Counsel for Hearst Publications during the preliminary rounds, as well as numerous First Amendment attorneys."
The top six teams from the six different regional qualifying competitions around the world will be competing, meaning 36 teams. The international rounds will be held at Rhodes House at the University of Oxford, April 9-12. "The amount of international research we did was astronomical, easily three or four times what other teams did," Costas-Barofsky said. "This should make us very competitive at Oxford."