KU Law’s moot court program ranks 14th in the nation

LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas School of Law’s moot court program is 14th in the nation, according to rankings published recently by the University of Houston Law Center.

The rankings are determined by a point system, awarding point values in various categories for successes in regional and national competitions throughout the year. KU Law has earned enough points to rank in the top 30 teams nationally for the past seven years. 
“Our students were amazing this season,” said Pamela Keller, clinical professor of law and director of KU’s moot court program. “They all worked incredibly hard in their individual competitions. We had more teams advance to the upper, elite rounds of competitions than ever before.”

Keller gives special recognition to 3L moot court members whose commitment to the team approach made all the difference.

“They understand that by doing practice rounds with other council members and mentoring students in our 2L in-house competition that they not only advance their own advocacy skills but also make our program stronger as a whole,” Keller said.

For the second year in a row, a KU Law team won the top prize at the National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition. Emily Depew and Douglas Bartel celebrated their win with fellow teammates and their coaches, KU Law alumni Nancy Musick, L’19, Chris Carey, L’19 and Professor Shawn Watts.  

“Our success at the competition is a testament to the strength of the entire KU NNALSA team and the broader KU Law community,” Bartel said. “The support of our team members, coaches, professors and colleagues carried us across the finish line. While working through winter break and each weekend in January and February is tiring—as are the six rounds of the actual competition—I would do it again in a heartbeat."

KU Law’s overall performance this season, earning the final rank of 14, secured a spot in the 2023 Hunton Andrews Kurth Moot Court National Championship, an invitation-only event for the top 16 ranked moot court teams in the country.

Other highlights from the 2021-2022 competition season:

  • Grace Tran and Alec Feather advanced to the finals in the regional round of the National Moot Court Competition. The team’s performance earned them a spot in the national round where they placed in the top 24 out of more than 130 teams from law schools around the country.
  • Emily Depew and Betsy Donahue competed in the Hunton Andrews Kurth Moot Court National Championship. Depew received third place overall for best oralist, and Donahue earned a perfect score during one round of the competition.
  • Rachel Zierden and Konnor Manley advanced to the semifinals of the FBA Thurgood Marshall Moot Court Competition. Jared Harpt and Colin Murphy advanced to the quarterfinals of the competition and were awarded best brief.
  • Sim Johal and Jamie Schaible competed in the Herbert Wechsler National Criminal Law Moot Court Competition where they advanced to the round of the elite eight. Johal won third place for best oralist.
  • Natalie Nelson and Parker Bednasek advanced to the semifinals of the Wagner National Labor and Employment Law Competition. Jamie Crabtree and Zach Galyon also competed, and Galyon was awarded Best Respondent Oral Advocate Award for his performance in preliminary rounds.
  • Olivia Ruschill and Michal Whitney advanced to the sweet sixteen at the National Immigration Law Moot Court Competition.
  • Chloe Ketchmark and Minha Jutt advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition. Ketchmark won best oralist in two preliminary rounds.
  • Melinda Foshat, Evan Rose, David Halliwell, Brien Stonebreaker and Connor Works earned a spot at the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition after finishing among the top 32 out of 87 teams during a preliminary round.
  • Katelyn Girod and Helen Phillips competed at the 30th Annual Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition after advancing to the final rounds of a regional competition.
  • Jessica Steffen and Stephen Tujague competed at the Evans Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition, advancing to the semifinals. The team also won a best respondent’s brief award, and Steffen took second for place best oralist.

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.

Several KU Law teams also competed in national competitions in mock trial and transactional law.

Past KU Law moot court rankings by the University of Houston Law Center:

  • 2022: No. 14
  • 2021: No. 13
  • 2020: No. 22
  • 2019: No. 14
  • 2018: No. 26
  • 2017: No. 17
  • 2016: No. 19.