Southwestern's Moot Court Team Performs Well in International Competition
When it comes to appellate advocacy, Southwestern knows how to make an impression all the way across the Atlantic. On a trip to Oxford, England, to compete in the international rounds of the Price Media Law Moot Court Programme, Southwestern's Moot Court team of Matthew Alsberg, Isaiah Costas-Barofsky, Christopher Lloyd and Almara Sepanian earned distinction as semifinalists and won First Place Brief. As the recipient of the First Place brief award, the team's briefs (one written for the Applicant, the other for the Respondent) will be published and publicly available on the Oxford website for future competitors to use as a model.
Forty-one teams qualified for the International Rounds out of more than 100 teams that competed in regional competitions worldwide. At the international competition, Southwestern competed against teams from Croatia, Lithuania, England, South Africa and two teams from the United States. Southwestern defeated, with a sweep of all points available, the Americas Regional champions, Brooklyn Law School, as well as the European Regional champions, University of Zagreb, Croatia. In the semifinals, Southwestern lost in a close match against Regent University.
Coached by Professor Alexandra D'Italia, the team had to argue the same case they did at regionals, which concerned 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.
Southwestern argued in front of judges who included the Senior Legal Advisor for the legal and policy office of the Human Rights Watch; a partner at Allen & Overy LLP who argued in the first landmark Napster copyright infringement case in the UK; a leading barrister in sports law; Senior Legal Counsel for the Media Legal Defense initiative; a terrorism expert and member of the Tehran bar who has argued at Guantanamo on behalf of detainees; Senior Litigation Counsel for Google UK; the 2013 Chambers & Partners technology, media, and telecom lawyer of the year; a trainee of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, as well as numerous members of the Oxford faculty; and members of leading private law firms specializing in technology, media and human rights litigation.
Of the three judges that were responsible for scoring all the briefs submitted by all 100 teams, one approached Southwestern's team and called their Applicant submission "nigh flawless."
"The Oxford faculty, judges and the founder of the competition are keen to have us back, remembering our names and especially Professor D'Italia," Costas-Barofsky explained. "I think this is especially the case because in one-third of the rounds Christopher Lloyd and I argued, we received scores of 99/100."