Briefing Room


Moot court team places third in the nation

January 27, 2014 | Students

The Moot Court and Lawyering Skills Program is making room in Drinko Hall for extra hardware today after a team of 3Ls returned from a national competition in Houston with multiple trophies and accolades.

Lisa Herman, Colin Kalvas, and Jim Saywell came in second for the “Best Brief Award” and third overall in the Andrews Kurth National Moot Court Championship. The team had entered the tournament seeded 12th, and their outstanding performance caught the attention of academics and leading practitioners from across the country.

“For me the best part of the competition was hearing the other coaches and judges remark on how well-prepared, poised, and professional our students were throughout the competition,” said Moot Court Program Coordinator Elizabeth Sherowski ’96.

It was the first time Ohio State law students participated in the prestigious championship, which was held Jan. 22-25 at the University of Houston Law Center. Only 16 schools in the country receive an invitation, based on the performance of their moot court teams the previous academic year.

In this year’s national competition, teams faced two issues. The first was whether the case they received had experienced final agency action and is therefore ripe for judicial review. The second issue involved administrative and environmental law and whether the Department of Defense, as a federal agency, needed to issue an environmental impact statement, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, for hydraulic fracturing on a decommissioned military base it leases to a private company.

Heading into the national championship, the team expressed confidence about the brief they had put together. “Some teams overlook the brief, resting instead on their oral arguments,” Saywell had said. “But our team made the brief a focus point of our fall semester, and we hope it will propel us to success in Houston in January.”

In the oral arguments phase of the competition, the team defeated powerhouse moot court programs on the way to the semifinals. The University of Georgia School of Law’s team edged out the Ohio State team by a margin of 0.4 – the smallest point differential in the competition’s history. Georgia went on to defeat South Texas in the final round.

The team’s coach, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs Monte Smith ’90, said, “All of the credit for the team’s outstanding performance goes to them.  They worked hard from start to finish.”

The team is not finished yet.

Herman, Kalvas, and Saywell are one of two teams that will represent the Moritz College of Law at the ABA Moot Court Competition in Boston in March. The other team is comprised of 3Ls Melvis Houseman, Syane Roy, and Kyle Shelton. The issue at that competition focuses on whether having a law student serving as an unpaid intern at a law firm is an “employee” for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act minimum wage requirement.

Click here to learn more about the Moot Court and Lawyering Skills Program, including opportunities for alumni to volunteer their time for today’s teams.