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Law school’s moot court program ranked among top 20 in nation

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A few of the students who participated in KU Law's nationally ranked 2015-2016 moot court program

LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas School of Law’s moot court program ranks 19th in the nation, according to rankings published this month by the University of Houston Law Center.

Headlined by a national championship team, KU Law students accumulated enough points through strong showings at national competitions to break into the top 20 for the first time in the school’s history.

“What our students achieved is no small feat,” said Pamela Keller, clinical professor of law and director of KU’s lawyering skills program. “The ranking system is based on cumulative points, so larger law schools have a distinct advantage. We have fewer teams competing than many schools, so most of our teams have to be successful in order to be ranked.

“I am very proud of how all of our teams performed. It is again proof of what I see year after year – that we have tremendously bright, talented and hard-working students.”

Garnering the most points toward KU’s ranking was its performance at the National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition in early March. Ashley Akers, of Casper, Wyoming, and Maureen Orth, of Prairie Village, won the competition and received the best brief award. Orth was named the second-best oral advocate and received the first-ever G. William Rice Advocate Award for the highest cumulative points in the competition. Corey Adams of Wichita and Nathan Kakazu of Madison, Wisconsin, placed third and received the second-place brief award. Nick Hayes of Lawrence and Jason Vigil of Las Cruces, New Mexico, also represented KU at the competition, held in East Lansing, Michigan.

Other highlights from the 2015-2016 moot court season:

  • Bryce Langford, of Amarillo, Texas, and Luke Hangge, of Yakima, Washington, advanced to the regional finals of the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition in Boston, marking KU’s best finish ever in the competition.
  • Ashley Akers and Abby Hall, of Overland Park, made it to the regional semifinals of the National Moot Court Competition in Lawrence, missing the final round by the smallest of margins.
  • Adam Sokoloff, of Overland Park, and Kendall Kaut, of Olathe, advanced to the semifinal round of the Federal Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall National Moot Court Competition in Washington, D.C.
  • Matthew Rogers, of Wellsville, and Bradley Thomas, of Mission Hills, made it to the quarterfinals of the Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition in White Plains, New York.
  • Nicki Rose, of Topeka, and Brendan McNeal, of Boulder, Colorado, argued their way into the quarterfinal rounds of the Seigenthaler-Sutherland Cup National First Amendment Moot Court Competition in Washington, D.C.
  • KU’s Jessup International Law Moot Court team made it to the quarterfinals of the Rocky Mountain Regional rounds in Denver and captured the award for third-best brief. Team members included Skyler Davenport, of Blue Springs, Missouri; Bill Madden, of Topeka; Jacque Patton and John Truong, both of Wichita; and Yarhmaan Peerbaccus, of Waukee, Iowa.

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.