Posted: April 13th, 2017 | By: Lisa Snedeker
Ashley Bouchez (JD ’19) of Huntersville, North Carolina, won the 46th annual George K. Walker Moot Court Competition final round on Thursday, April 13, in the Worrell Professional Center.
Bouchez argued in opposition of Jonathan Patton (JD ’19), who was named runner-up of the competition. Patton is a native of Rock Hill, South Carolina.
The final round showcases the top two first-year law students in the moot court competition. Arguing a fictitious discrimination case, Bouchon represented the Plaintiff Celia Weston, as guardian for Albert Blair, while Patton represented the Defendant Dalton Corp.
The distinguished panel of judges included the Honorable Michael L. Robinson, Special Superior Court Judge, North Carolina Business Court; the Honorable Elizabeth K. Dillon (JD ’86), U.S. District Court Judge, Western District of Virginia; and Professor George K. Walker, the competition’s namesake.
The judges were highly complimentary of both finalists.
Judge Dillon said, “I would be very pleased to have either of you argue in front of me anytime, you both did an excellent job. I am very impressed by both of your ability to make smooth transitions, stick to your arguments, you knew the record well and the law well. I think Mr. Patton made very good use of the facts of this case and Miss Bouchez you made very good use of the law. A lot of attorneys get flustered when asked a question and can’t get back to their argument but neither one of you got flustered. I thought you did an excellent job.”
Leading up to the event, which is held each spring for first-year law students, 103 students wrote a brief and argued twice, once “on-brief” and once “off-brief.” After two weeks, 16 students were invited to join Moot Court, and competed in the following week in an elimination tournament leading up to the final round.
The 2016 Sweet Sixteen and the newest members of the Moot Court are: Shawna Abbatiello, Jonah Bamel, France Beard, Ashley Bouchez, Lucas Brown, Caitlin Bush, Mattie Gibbons, Alexia Martin, Tyler Martin, Emily Melvin, Hanna Monson, Mark Parent, Jonathan Patton, Tracea Rice, Kara Stangl and Katherine Wenner. Honorable Mentions went to Tim Day, Gabriela Mejias, Gilbert Smolenski and Sarah Warren.
Ashley Bouchez (JD ’19) was not the only student to take home an award. Distinctions for Best Brief, Best Oralist and the Debbie Parker Memorial Moot Court Service Award were also awarded.
Aaron Vodicka won the Best Brief award and Lucas Brown was runner-up. The Best Oralist award went to Tyler Martin and runner-up was Katherine Wenner.
The Debbie Parker Moot Court Service Award went to Drew Culler (JD ’17).
The 2017 Walker Moot Court Competition co-chairs were Drew Culler, Mitchell Davis and Daniel Stratton. The Moot Court Board was made up of Chief Justice Eric Benedict, Associate Chief Justice Charley Connor and Marshall Kyleigh Feehs.
For 46 years, the Wake Forest Moot Court Board has conducted a moot court competition for first-year law students. In 1998, the Moot Court Board named this competition the George K. Walker Moot Court Competition in honor of Professor Walker’s long-standing support of the Wake Forest Moot Court program.
The Debbie Parker Moot Court Service Award is an honor granted to either a member of the Moot Court Board or a participant in the Walker Moot Court Competition who exemplifies throughout the competition a spirit of dedication and service to Wake Forest University School of Law, as well as compassion and cooperation with his or her fellow students.
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. A list of the past winners is located on the Moot Court website.
This competition is named after Professor Walker, 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.