Moritz trio takes home 2020 Moot Court Championship
By: James Grega
The Hunton Andrews Kurth Moot Court National Championship annually features the top moot court teams from around the country and in 2020, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law trio of TJ Beavers, Sarah Siewe, and Dustin Lorenzo took home the championship trophy.
The competition, which is hosted by the University of Houston Law Center, featured Moritz 3Ls against the team from the University of Georgia in the final round on Feb. 1. Siewe, who participated in mock trial in undergrad and is on the moot court governing board at Moritz, was particularly elated with the title.
“We were worried we weren’t going to qualify,” Siewe said. “They invite the top programs in the nation and invite just one team of three to compete. Winning was surreal. When they said our name, it was unbelievable.”
Beavers, Siewe and Lorenzo each played a different role on the team, equally contributing to their success. Siewe was designated as the “swing” member of the team, playing both sides of the case while Beavers and Lorenzo advocated for opposing sides.
Siewe praised Lorenzo’s ability to research and recite circuit cases and complimented Beavers’ convincing personality when it was his turn to step up as an advocate.
“They were such incredible teammates and I was very lucky to be working with them,” Siewe said.
The 16 teams competed in four preliminary rounds before the field was cut in half and then seeded based on their performances in the opening rounds. When the seeds were announced, the Moritz trio was the No. 1 seed, by a wide margin.
“Our average margin of victory was around 33 points,” Lorenzo said. “At that point, we were like, ‘whatever we are doing is working so we are just going to keep going.’ The final round was a great round and we thought it was going to be close, either way.”
The competition problem surrounded a hypothetical case concerning whether a federal officer had immunity from state criminal prosecution under terms of the Supremacy Clause. Teams had to argue both sides in front of an impressive panel of judges featuring Judges Jennifer Walker Elrod and James Graves, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Judge Diane Sykes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Texas Supreme Court Justice (ret.) Scott Brister, and William Peterson, a partner at Morgan Lewis and author of the competition problem.
“The judges really had their finger on the pulse of the issue,” Beavers said. “It was a great opportunity for us to get out there and have some fun with it honestly.”
The victory in Houston was one of many successes for the Moritz community. Earlier in January, Allyson Fleming won The Closer Transactional Law Competition at Baylor Law School and the team of Shayla Kendricks and Pierre Collins placed second in the KMK Diversity Case Competition in Cincinnati.
(Photo courtesy of University of Houston Law Center)