Another Baylor Law Moot Court Team Wins Regional Tournament

March 31, 2008

by Julie Carlson, director of communications, Baylor Law School, (254) 710-6681

The Baylor Law School Moot Court team of Melanie Fry, Chris Kirker and Kayla Michalka went undefeated at the American Bar Association Moot Court Regional Tournament in Dallas and will advance, along with co-champion Florida, to the National Appellate Advocacy Competition in Chicago, April 3-5. Fry also was named one of the Top 10 Oral Advocates. The ABA national tournament is considered the most prestigious moot court competition in the U.S.

This marks the third time this spring that a Baylor Law team that has qualified for a national tournament. A Baylor Law mock trial team won the regional tournament of the National Trial Competition while another Baylor Law team won the American Bar Association's Client Counseling regional competition.

The regional moot court tournament involved 30 teams from across the country. A second Baylor team of Joel Bailey, Sophia Lauricella and Timothy Williams also competed in the tournament and narrowly missed advancing to the semi-final round. Professor Brian Serr served as coach.

"I was so blessed to get the opportunity to compete on the moot court team, and I must stress that my partner and I were successful because of the training and teaching of Professor Serr," Fry said. "He stayed long hours after school, gave us confidence the whole way through, and was right outside the court room door after every tournament round to encourage us. It was a privilege to have a coach who was so invested in his teams."

Chief Administrative Judge Jay Robinson of the Municipal Court for the City of Dallas served as one of the judges during the regional competition. He was impressed with Baylor's winning team and particularly Fry.

"I was impressed with (Baylor) Law School's team, and in particular, Melanie Fry. Her argument was outstanding, and she is already ahead of half of the attorneys that daily appear before me. The issues contained in the problem were numerous and complex, and I could gather from her argument the high level of teaching that must be going on at Baylor," he said.

This year's competition case centered on immigration law, specifically whether a Chinese national could apply for asylum to the U.S. claiming persecution under China's one-child policy if he was divorced from his wife, who underwent a forced abortion. The case also included an intricate administrative law question.

The ABA Law Student Division's National Appellate Advocacy Competition (NAAC) emphasizes the development of oral advocacy skills through a realistic appellate advocacy experience. Competitors participate in a hypothetical appeal to the United States Supreme Court. The competition involves writing a 40-page brief as either respondent or petitioner and then arguing the case in front of the mock court.

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