BUFFALO, N.Y. – A University at Buffalo team won second
place and another UB team was awarded Best Respondent Brief when
the UB Law School sent 10 2L and 3L students to compete in the
Northeast Regional Round of the national Frederick Douglass Moot
Court Competition (FDMCC) Jan. 22-26 in Albany. The
second-place winners will advance to the national round of the
competition, to be held in Milwaukee, Wis., in March.
This is the second year in a row in which a UB team has advanced
to the national round. It is also the second consecutive year
in which a UB Law School team has won a regional “best
“This unprecedented back-to-back showing is a remarkable
achievement by our students,” said Professor George Kannar,
who oversees the Law School’s moot court program.
The FDMCC is a national appellate advocacy competition organized
each year since 1975 by the National Black Law Student Association,
the largest law student organization in the United States.
The Northeast Regional Round was held during the recent Northeast
Black Law Students Association Convention.
In the 2014 FDMCC Northeast Regionals, four teams from the UB
Law School advanced through the elimination rounds to the regional
“Sweet 16.” The team members were Paul Meabon
(3L) and Todd Potter Jr. (2L), Alexandra Lugo (3L) and Mark Murphy
(2L), Caitlin O’Neil (2L) and Samih Tayeh (2L), and Elizabeth
Lee (3L) and Matthew Turetsky (3L).
Meabon and Potter, together with Lugo and Murphy, then
progressed further, to the competition’s “Elite
8” quarterfinal round. Lugo and Murphy advanced again,
from the quarterfinals to the “Final Four,” and then
again to the “Top Two” final round, where they received
the Second Place Award and qualified to be one of the three
Northeast Region teams advancing to the national competition in
In addition to these impressive courtroom triumphs, the UB Law
School team of O’Neil and Tayeh also received the Best
Respondent Brief Award for the entire Northeast Region.
In order to be chosen to represent the UB Law School in the
FDMCC, students are required to compete in an intramural selection
process by submitting a writing sample and making a mock oral
argument during the spring preceding the competition.
Successful competitors are then matched into teams of two.
For the FDMCC itself, each team is required to complete a
30-page brief based upon a fictional fact pattern presenting
constitutional issues. At the Northeast Regional Competition,
teams are required to argue at least three times in preliminary
rounds before the selection of the “Sweet 16.”
This year, UB Law School and FDMCC alumni again enlisted several
local attorneys to serve as guest judges during the FDMCC oral
argument teams’ practice rounds to provide the competitors
with feedback and support. They included Frank Ewing
’12, Natalie Pellegrino ’13, and Paul Iya
’13. This year’s FDMCC fact pattern dealt with
the constitutionality of a fictional amendment to the Controlled
Substances Act, ineffective assistance of counsel and potentially
unconstitutional prison conditions under the Fifth and Eighth