National Moot Court Team competes in Richmond

Photo of national moot court team in Richmond

Melissa Evett (’13), Dylan Greenwood (’13), and Katie Hatcher (’13) competed on  behalf of Wake Forest at the National Moot Court Competition’s regional tournament on Nov. 16-17 in Richmond, Va., which was held at the Fourth Circuit’s courthouse.

The National Moot Court Competition is one of the two most prestigious Moot Court competitions held each year, out of more than 60 hosted throughout the country.

The Richmond regional is for law schools throughout the Carolinas, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia.  Schools may enter one or two teams.  This year a total of 22 teams entered the regional.  After two preliminary rounds on Friday, eight teams advanced to playoff rounds on Saturday.

This year’s problem involved the search of a cell phone at an “Occupy Wall Street” type of protest.  The cell phone owner, who had filmed a police officer talking to a suspected undercover officer and was about to post the video and an inflammatory statement about it, sued another officer after that officer seized and searched his cell phone.  The owner alleged that his First Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights were violated.

On Friday morning, Hatcher and Greenwood argued on behalf of the officer against a team from Elon Law School.  The judges gave the Wake Forest pair an excellent oral argument score of 90.  On Friday afternoon, Evett and Greenwood argued on behalf of the cell phone owner against a team from the University of Richmond.  Evett’s fiancé and father both attended the round.  Evett and Greenwood, as the team had done in the morning round, earned an excellent oral argument score of 90.

After the Friday rounds, the top eight teams were announced, based on their “point differentials.”  The Evett/Greenwood/Hatcher team was the sixth seed (out of the 22 teams) and thereby advanced to Saturday.

It was the fourth straight year that a team from Wake Forest advanced to at least the quarterfinals.  On Saturday morning, Greenwood and Hatcher earned an oral argument score of 95, outscoring a William & Mary team that received a 91, but unfortunately the William & Mary team had a higher differential in the teams’ brief scores and therefore advanced to the semi-finals.

“Evett, Greenwood, and Hatcher all made outstanding arguments throughout the competition,” said Professor John Korzen, director of the law school’s Appellate Advocacy Clinic.  “Judges praised them for being organized, answering questions directly, and proposing a rule that was not too extreme – all qualities that will serve them well in practice.”

Members of the team said they appreciated all the helpful feedback given by Professors Marsh (who judged multiple practices), Castleman, Lentz, Morrow, C. Rose, Schneider, and Walker; by their coach Professor Korzen; by 10 alumni who helped judge practice rounds; and by classmates.