National Moot Court Team earns its way to semifinals

The Wake Forest University School of Law National Moot Court Team competed in the Richmond regional on Nov. 5-6 and won three out of four matches, making the semifinals and falling just short of a trip to the national finals. 

The team is made up of Luke Macdowall (’11), Katie Serfas (’11) and Rebecca Wood (’11).

Twenty teams from law schools in North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia compete in the regional, with the top eight advancing to elimination rounds and the top two advancing to the finals in New York City.

This year’s problem included two issues:  the proper test for a preliminary injunction when the likelihood of success cannot be determined with certainty, and whether ERISA preempts a particular city health care ordinance.  Wood argued both sides of the preliminary injunction issue, while Serfas argued that the ordinance was preempted, and Macdowall argued that it was not.

On Friday morning, Wake Forest won its first match, against a team from West Virginia University, overcoming a lower brief score with a great oral argument, according to Kelly Beth Smith, Wake Forest Moot Court Chief Justice .

In the second round, on Friday afternoon, Wake Forest topped a team from the University of Kentucky in both its brief and oral argument scores.  At 2-0, Wake Forest thereby made the top eight and advanced to Saturday’s elimination rounds.

In the quarterfinals Saturday morning, Wake Forest beat a team from George Mason, earning a higher brief score and higher argument score.  Then it was on to the semifinals, where Wake Forest faced Duke.  Wake Forest’s brief score was a point higher than Duke’s, but Duke narrowly won the match due to the oral argument scoring, which could have gone either way, according to Smith.

The team’s coach, Professor John Korzen, says the law school community should be very proud of the team.

“All three team members did a great job on their brief and preparing for oral arguments,” he said.  “The team had only about two weeks to prepare for the regional, because briefs were due Oct. 18.  The judges praised various aspects of all the team members’ arguments, especially how well the team responded to questions directly.  I could not be more proud of this team.”