Surprising many of its competitors, the Baylor Law School team of Sara Kimbrough, Matt Smith, and Kelsi Lauger made the finals of the Environmental Law Moot Court competition at Pace Law School in White Plains, NY. This was the first time a Baylor Law team had taken part in the large competition, which drew 73 teams.
"It was a great accomplishment. We really turned a lot of heads because it was our first year to compete (in the tournament) and we don't have a reputation for environmental law," said Luke Meier, assistant professor and coach of the team. "The competition was stiff; the field included teams from N.Y.U., Columbia, Cal-Berkeley, UCLA, Michigan, Penn, Wisconsin, Wash U., Georgetown, Indiana, Florida, and three-time defending champion Lewis and Clark.
This year's problem focused on the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act with regard to states with authorized hazardous waste programs.
"The students had to learn a very complicated fact pattern," Meier said. "There were difficult environmental law, administrative and procedural issues."
In the three pre-break arguments, the top oralist for each argument was named by the judges. Each argument included three separate teams with two members from each team delivering an argument. Lauger was named the top oralist in both pre-break rounds in which she argued.
The Baylor team made the break of 27 teams based on the strength of its oral scores and brief score. After the break, the brief score was no longer used for determining advancement and the top oralist for each argument was no longer determined.
In the quarterfinal round, Baylor Law defeated Utah and Northeastern. In the semifinal round, the Baylor Law team defeated teams from Washington University (St. Louis) and Vermont. In the finals, the Baylor Law team competed with three-time defending champion Lewis and Clark, which was making its sixth straight appearance in the finals, and competition mainstay Ole Miss. Ole Miss was named the winner; a second-place determination was not made.