LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas School of Law’s moot court program is 22nd in the nation, according to rankings published recently by the University of Houston Law Center.
This is the fifth year in a row that KU Law’s moot court program has ranked in the nation’s top 30 programs.
Pamela Keller, clinical professor of law, has served as the director of KU’s moot court program since 2005. Keller has helped advance KU Law's moot court program for the past 15 years through training designed to equip law students with the skills necessary to win national competitions.
“The students on this year's Moot Court Council worked hard to maintain our streak in the rankings. They spent a lot of hours practicing for their own competitions and a lot of hours helping their classmates in practices,” Keller said. “It takes our entire team of students, faculty coaches and alumni coaches to make this ranking possible. It's rewarding when those efforts get recognized.”
Garnering the most points toward KU’s ranking was its performance at the National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition in March. Third-year law students Karen Fritts, of Olathe, and Zachary Kelsay, of Independence, Missouri, received the competition’s first-place award for Best Overall Advocates. Kelsay and Fritts also placed in the top three out of 68 teams in the competition.
“It was incredibly fortunate that we were able to succeed at NNALSA this year,” Kelsay said. “Getting to compete in moot court alongside other KU Law students has been the most fun experience of my time here at KU Law.”
Recent graduates Hannah Lustman, of St. Louis, and Diana Stanley, of Wichita, were finalists at the 2020 Jeffrey G. Miller National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition in February. Lustman and Stanley tied for second place in the competition. Lustman won the award for Best Oralist in all three preliminary rounds.
Other highlights from the 2019-2020 competition season:
- Tara Mollhagen, L’20, was a runner-up in the elite invitation-only “The Closer” National Transactional Law Competition at Baylor Law School on Jan. 16-19. Law schools invited to compete are limited to one student entrant per school and must have excelled at previous transactional law competitions or in the area of transactional training.
- Lewis Walton, L’20, and Zack Royle, L’20, advanced to the semi-final round of the regional Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition in Chicago on Feb. 17. Walton won the award for Best Oralist at the regional competition. Walton and Royle also competed in the national round of the competition from Feb. 29 – March 2 in Jamaica, New York.
- Abbey Lee, L’20, and Mary-Colleen Fowler, L’20, advanced to the elite eight round of the 26th Anniversary Burton D. Wechsler National First Amendment Moot Court Competition in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 25-26, 2019.
- TJ Blake, L’20, and Andi Leuszler, L’20, advanced to the quarterfinal round of the National Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition in San Diego on Nov. 1-3, 2019.
Most KU Law students who compete in national tournaments were the top finishers in the school’s in-house moot court competition during their second year of law school. Competitions generally consist of writing an appellate brief and presenting a mock oral argument before an appellate court.
Past KU Law rankings by the University of Houston Law Center:
- 2020: 22
- 2019: 14
- 2018: 26
- 2017: 17
- 2016: 19.