Baylor Law School's annual Dawson & Sodd, LLP Moot Court Competition, a week-long intramural event held every fall, ended on Monday, September 27th, with students Michaelina Sirkel and Amanda Hildebrand winning the top spots. The team of Victor Jarvis and Hope Burkhalter took 2nd place in the fall competition. The teams of Jake Shultz and Ashley Zarate and Jordan Dobbs and Ashley Cocklin ended the competition as Semi-Finalists.
This year, 21 two-person teams took part in the competition, which simulates the appellate advocacy process and focuses on developing students' oral advocacy skills and their ability to respond under pressure to questions from a panel of judges. Baylor Law students enrolled in the third quarter of Legal Analysis, Research and Communication (LARC 3) are required to participate in the moot court competition. Additionally, second and third year students have the option of competing a second time.
The 2021 competition's final round, conducted virtually via Zoom, was held on Monday evening September 27th and was judged by a panel of Baylor Law professors and the 2021 student winners of Baylor Law’s Faegre Drinker Spring Moot Court Competition.
In the competition, the opposing teams represent the petitioner and the respondent in a fictional case. The teams tackle two issues, with each team member taking an issue. The problem facing this year's competitors involved a claim for emotional distress by a plaintiff whose fiancée was killed in a pedestrian automobile accident. He did not see or hear the accident but went to the scene shortly after it happened. The questions presented were (1) whether Texas law recognizes a claim for bystander recovery if the plaintiff is engaged, but not married, to the victim of the accident, and (2) whether the plaintiff can recover damages if he was not located at the scene and did not contemporaneously perceive the accident.
The top ten speakers, as well as the member of the top eight teams, have been named as Barristers, an honorific title given to students who stand out for their appellate advocacy skills.
During the preliminary rounds of the competition, the student competitors are judged by current Barristers. This year's top ten speakers, by points awarded, were:
In addition, Ashley Cocklin was chosen by the Officers of the Harvey M. Richey Moot Court Society and faculty from the LARC 3 class to receive the Professionalism Award.
"The Dawson & Sodd, LLP Moot Court Competition, is a unique and challenging competition that gives our first-year students an introduction to oral advocacy," noted Baylor Law Professor Mike Berry, faculty advisor to the intramural competitions. "It’s always very exciting for me to see how good they get from the practice round to the final round. This year was no exception. The students all did an outstanding job," he added.
The Corsicana-based law firm of The Dawson & Sodd, LLP generously sponsors the annual fall competition. The firm's two named partners were both graduates of Baylor Law. Legendary Matt "Mad Dog" Dawson (JD '38) served on Baylor Law School's faculty from 1938-1971 and was professor of Baylor's renowned Practice Court program for 13 years. Glenn Sodd (JD '72) has been a frequent speaker on eminent domain trial strategy, including testimony on innovation of the Texas Legislature, and is a Fellow in the American College of Trial.
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