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UW College of Law Finishes in Semi-finals at National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition

February 27, 2019
pace winners

The UW College of Law Environmental Moot Court Team Advanced to the semi-finals at the Jeffrey G. Miller National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition sponsored by the Pace University School of Law. The team comprised of third-year law students John Fritz, Kaylee Harmon, and Christine Kelly, were selected to represent the University of Wyoming College of Law after winning the Davis & Cannon Natural Resources Law Moot Court Competition in the fall.

As the sponsor of the local competition, Davis & Cannon, LLP not only provides financial support for the team travel, but also provides judges for the local competition. This partnership allows the students to gain valuable feedback from professionals in the firm, better preparing them to face their student peers on the national stage. Judges for the final round of the local competition this year included UW Trustee John McKinley, Justice Kate Fox, Justice Lynne Boomgaarden, and Judge Nancy Freudenthal.

“We are all very grateful for the support of Davis & Cannon–for judging our local competition and financially supporting our trip to New York,” says John Fritz. “Without it, we could not have gone.”

UW students have competed in the Jeffrey G. Miller National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition sponsored by the Pace University School of Law since 1990. The competition requires students to argue an environmental case from three viewpoints: the government/regulator, the regulated industry, and the citizen public interest group. The national competition is sponsored annually by the Pace Law School’s Environmental Moot Court Board in collaboration with the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C., and Texaco Inc.

IMG_8259The team traveled under the tutelage of their faculty coach, Associate Dean and the Centennial Distinguished Professor of Law, Sam Kalen.

“After arriving at the competition, we all felt prepared (albeit nervous) to go head-to-head with schools who traditionally made it to the knock-out rounds of the competition,” says Christine Kelly. “We quickly realized, however, that through our experience in the Davis & Cannon competition and practice with our coach Professor Sam Kalen we were equally, if not better prepared than other teams there.”

The team continued to improve and advance through each round, and concluded the preliminary rounds with Kaylee Harmon receiving the Best Oralist Award in the third round.

In addition to a best oralist accolade, the team earned high scores on their brief, which combined with their preliminary round advocacy scores, landed them in the semi-final round. They went up against two impressive teams–a team who competed in finals the previous year and another who received the best brief award. Though they ultimately did not make it through to the finals, their placement was a significant achievement in this national appellate competition.

Davis & Cannon logo

Professor Kalen was very pleased with their efforts in preparing for the competition, as well as their advocacy abilities. “They worked hard and did extremely well,” he says. “We should be proud of their accomplishment.”

“Although we lost in semi-finals, we were told it was a toss-up between us and the team that won,” concludes Fritz. “It was tough to lose so close to finals, but we were very happy with our performance throughout the tournament!”

The UW team competed against the top advocates from fifty-six schools across the county and proved that Wyoming belonged within the top 10. The College of Law is extremely proud of their performance!

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