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Wake Forest’s Family Law Moot Court team wins it all in national competition

A team of Wake Forest University School of Law students won the Gabrielli National Family Law Moot Court Competition at Albany Law School on Feb.26-29.

Second-year students Missy Hanna, Rich McPherson and Caroline Payseur are the national family law champions after beating out teams from 21 law schools, including New York University, the University of Mississippi, the University of Southern California and the University of Texas.

Following two preliminary rounds on Feb. 26, the Wake Law team made the cut to the Sweet Sixteen, advanced through two more cuts on Friday to get to the semifinals on Saturday with teams from Appalachian School of Law, University of Baltimore and Stetson University. The finals on Saturday pit the Wake team against the University of Baltimore.

"While we lost every coin toss but one, we won every round,” said team coach Professor Suzanne Reynolds. “Many thanks go to the great judges on the Wake faculty and to the many local lawyers who asked the team tough questions in practice rounds.”

The team argued before the Hon. George Bundy Smith in the final round. He served on New York’s highest Court of Appeals for 14 years.

Since the competition began in 1989, Wake has won it five times. Only two teams, Villanova and Brooklyn Law School, have won it four times each, Reynolds said.

“With this win by Missy, Rich and Caroline, Wake Forest is the winningest team in Gabrielli history,” she said.

There will be a permanent plaque placed on display in the Worrell Professional Center to commemorate the event.

“Congratulations to this outstanding team and their coach Professor Suzanne Reynolds for an outstanding demonstration of oral and written skills,” said Associate Dean Ann Gibbs.  “You are some of Wake Forest’s best and have made us all extremely proud.”