Release Date: February 13, 2014
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 brief” award.
“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 Milwaukee.
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 Amendments.