45th Walker Moot Court Competition finals set for Friday, April 15

Photo of Professor George K. Walker

George Walker is one of the school’s most accomplished scholars and public servants. He is the editor or author of over 10 books and monographs, 50 professional journal articles or book chapters and 30 continuing education chapters.

The Wake Forest Moot Court has announced its first-year finalists for the 45th Walker Moot Court Competition. The semi-final rounds will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 14.  The final round will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, April 15, Room 1312 of the Worrell Professional Center.

On Thursday in Room 1312, David Layman will represent the plaintiff and Mike Stephens will represent the defendant. In Room 2323, Malcom Boyd will represent the plaintiff and Mickey Herman will represent the defendant.

The distinguished panels of judges on Thursday include The Honorable David W. Aycock, 25th District Court; Dylan Greenwood (JD ’13), criminal defense attorney; Vanessa Zboreak (JD ’11), Professor of Practice, Wake Forest Law; Professor George Walker, Wake Forest Law; Pat Kane, partner at Smith More Leatherwood, LLP; and Ken Carlson, partner at Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP, and adjunct professor, Wake Forest Law.

The 2016 Sweet Sixteen and the newest members of the Moot Court are: Ashley Barton, Malcolm Boyd, Mitchell Davis, Vanessa Garrido, Mickey Herman, Ryan Holt, Emily Lagan, David Layman, Yawara Ng, Stephanie Poon, Emily Scotton, Mike Stephens, John Van Swearingen, Brittany Wages, Evan Weltge and Zack Young.

This year’s case for the competition is as follows:

Defendant Deerfield Corrections, Inc. is a private, for­-profit corporation that contracts with several states to operate correctional facilities. One of the facilities operated by Deerfield Corrections, Inc. is the Skinner Juvenile Detention Center in Forsyth County, North Carolina. Plaintiff Paula Perez was employed at Skinner from Feb. 2012 to Oct. 2015.  She started out as a third-­shift Girls Group Leader and eventually moved up to second­-shift Girls Group Leader. Ms. Perez received superior performance evaluations during her tenure as a Girls Group Leader. In February 2015, a first­-shift Boys Group Leader position became open, and Ms. Perez applied. She was not hired for the position; Skinner’s Director of Human Resources, Ellie Herndon, informed her that pursuant to Deerfield  Corrections’ policy, females could not serve as Boys Group Leaders at Skinner. 

Deerfield Corrections bases its policy on the belief that hiring only males to be  Boys Group Leaders is necessary to enable it to achieve its mandate from the State to maintain a secure facility and to rehabilitate the juveniles while safeguarding their privacy rights. After being denied the Boys Group Leader position, Ms. Perez eventually quit her job at Skinner and later filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, which issued her a right­ to ­sue notice dated Oct. 26, 2015.  Ms. Perez then filed this lawsuit against Deerfield Corrections, Inc. The issue before the court is whether Deerfield’s policy of hiring only males as Boys Group Leaders at Skinner qualifies for the “bona fide occupational qualification” exception to Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination in employment based on concerns about the privacy and rehabilitation of the juveniles.

The George K. Walker Moot Court Competition is the first chance for law students to join the Wake Forest Moot Court Board. It is a competition strictly for first-year students and works hand-in-hand with Wake Forest’s Legal Analysis, Writing and Research (LAWR) program. The Walker Competition is held in the spring, once the first year students have finished their final LAWR II briefs.

Once in the competition, the competitors’ scores are based on brief scores and oral argument scores. The competitors argue two appellate arguments, the first arguing the position of their Legal Research and Writing brief and the second of the opposing position. Moot Court members score each competitor’s brief and both oral arguments. The final competitor score is based equally on the brief and oral argument score.

The top 16 competitors are invited to join the Moot Court Board. At  its discretion, the board also takes honorable mention finishers who demonstrated exceptional writing or oral advocacy skills during the preliminary rounds. The 16 competitors then argue in elimination rounds, with the written brief score counting less in each round. The final competitor becomes the George K. Walker Moot Court champion.  You can find the results of past Walker Competitions here.

This competition is named after George K. Walker, Professor of Law, who founded the intramural moot court competitions at Wake Forest. Professor Walker also teaches Admiralty, Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Federal Jurisdiction, International Law and National Security Law. He joined the Wake Forest law faculty in 1972 and was promoted to professor in
1977.