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CUNY Law Students Go to (Moot) Court

October 7, 2016

Our second- and third-year students participated in CUNY Law’s 21st annual Moot Court Summer Competition recently to secure a spot on the law school’s Moot Court team.

Second-year students Abigail Downs and Michael Perez won the final round of oral arguments. Jasmine Brock and Juliet Critsimilios, also 2L students, took second place.

(From left to right: Abigail Downs, Juliet Critsimilios, Renee Smith, Michael Perez, Judge Nelida Malave-Gonzalez, Jasmine Brock, & Judge Andrew Tarantino.)

(From left to right: Abigail Downs, Juliet Critsimilios, Renee Smith, Michael Perez, Judge Nelida Malave-Gonzalez, Jasmine Brock, & Judge Andrew Tarantino.)

Moot Court is a rite of passage for many 2L and 3L law students, who work on a simulated case and prepare their arguments outside of the classroom and during the summer months. Participating students received a simulated case record and, on their own, work on researching and writing an appellate brief on the issues in the case and prepare to present oral arguments as if they were arguing before the Supreme Court.

“The students who do Moot Court are really committed to improving their skills because they put in a lot of time to do this while they’re juggling jobs and classes and internships,” explains Prof. Jeff Kirchmeier, faculty advisor for CUNY’s Moot Court Team.

Plus, Kirchmeier added, the students gain experience in writing and oral advocacy, often improving in both areas.

Students who successfully complete the Summer Competition and qualify to join Moot Court are then eligible to compete in outside competitions. This year’s participants spent their summer researching questions on constitutional law issues connected to the Fourth Amendment and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Each team submitted an appellate brief based on the information provided , and their own research and writing. Then, at the start of the fall semester, students argued against one another in two preliminary rounds, leading up to the final round between the two top teams.

Margot Lourdel and Nia Itoh Receive Best Team Brief

Margot Lourdel and Nia Itoh Receive Best Team Brief

This year, the final judging panel included three sitting judges and a CUNY Law alum, Kirchmeier noted.  Students in the final round argued before a panel of esteemed judges that included: Hon. Nelida Malave-Gonzalez (Judge in the Bronx County Surrogate’s Court) (’91), Hon. Jenny Rivera (Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals), Hon. Andrew Tarantino (Acting Justice in Supreme Court, Suffolk County) (’91) and alumnus Renee Smith (’12), an attorney with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Acres Program.

Michael Perez receiving Best Oral Argument Award from Hon. Andrew Tarantino.

Michael Perez receiving Best Oral Argument Award from Hon. Andrew Tarantino.

The final round judges awarded the Best Oral Argument Award to Michael Perez.

“I focused on making sure that I effectively represented my client by showing [the judges] the hard work and effort I had committed to this issue,” Perez said, reflecting on his arguments.

Connor Mealey (’17), the summer competition chair, ran this year’s summer program. First year students served as bailiffs and timekeepers. Oral argument judges included CUNY alumni, current practitioners, and sitting judges.

The list of awards includes the following:

Top Teams:
First Place: Abigail Downs & Michael Perez (’18)
Second Place: Jasmine Brock & Juliet Critsimilios (’18)
Third Place: Jelissa Grant & Ismael Peguero (’18)
Fourth Place: Christian Harned & Samara Yousif (’18)
Fifth Place: Nia Itoh & Margot Lourdel (’18)

Best Brief Awards:
Best Team Brief: Nia Itoh & Margot Lourdel (’18)

Second Place (3-way tie):
Christian Harned & Samara Yousif (’18)
Jelissa Grant & Ismael Peguero (’18)
Abigail Downs & Michael Perez (’18)

Best Single-Issue Brief: Radiyah Abdus-Shakur (’17)
Second Place Single-Issue Brief: Michelle Tarangelo (’18)

Oral Argument Awards:
Best Oral Argument Final Round: Michael Perez (’18)
Best Oral Arguments (Preliminary Rounds):
First Place (tie): Kaleigh Vance (’18) and Ismael Peguero (’18)
Third Place: Juliet Critsimilios (’18)
Fourth Place: Mary Mazur (’18)

Congratulations to all of the CUNY Law students who successfully completed the competition and qualified to become the newest members of CUNY Moot Court:

Third-year students (Class of 2017): Radiyah Abdus-Shakur and Asima Chaudhary

Second-year students (Class of 2018): Peter Arete, Jasmine Brock, Ruby-Beth Buitekant, Jonnelle Casey, Victor Cheng, Juliet Critsimilios, Abigail Downs, Dumitru Efros, Zunira Elahi, Jelissa Grant, Himani Gupta, Christian Harned, Eliana Horn, Nia Itoh,  Margot Lourdel, Mary Mazur, Ismael Peguero, Michael Perez, Natasha Pooran, Shruthi Ravi, Sagar Sharma, Michelle Tarangelo, Pasang Tsering, Kaleigh Vance, Rondayah Williams, and Samara Yousif

 

Related Categories: Spotlight, Student News

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