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Mercer Law Moot Court Team Sweeps National Advocacy Competition

February 9, 2010

David N. Hefner
Director of Communications and Marketing
Walter F. George School of Law
Mercer University
(478) 301-5000

CHARLESTON, S.C. – A moot court team at Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law swept the Charleston School of Law “National Moot Court Competition” last week, winning the coveted team championship and both “Best Respondent’s Brief” and “Best Oralist.” In the closing rounds, the team, comprised of third-year law students Falen Cox and Emily Macheski-Preston, defeated law school teams from the University of Florida (quarterfinals), DePaul University (semifinals) and Florida Coastal (finals).

“This victory is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our student competitors and the student coaches,” said Mercer Law School Associate Professor Suzianne Painter-Thorne, the team’s faculty coach, referring to student coaches Joan McCallum and Kevin Stroberg.

“Our students showed amazing dedication in developing their arguments and a seriousness of purpose in presenting their arguments throughout the competition.”

Moot court teams from 19 law schools participated in the national competition, including teams from Duke University, Florida State University, New York University, the University of South Carolina, and Yeshiva University.
In the championship round, when Mercer Law School squared off against Florida Coastal, the teams argued an issue concerning the scope of the Second Amendment right to bear arms. The problem is based on McDonald v. Chicago, which is currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Testing students’ mastery of brief writing and oral advocacy, moot court competitions are critical components of Mercer Law School’s training of future lawyers who are uniquely prepared to practice law immediately after graduation. Mercer Law School’s moot court program is consistently ranked among the top 20 in the nation, and its national success is due to Mercer’s talented faculty and leading legal writing program.

“We could not have won without the tremendous support we received from the Mercer Moot Court Board and the help of the faculty,” said Macheski-Preston, who won “Best Oralist.”

“Our win is simply tangible evidence of the first-class education we receive at Mercer Law,” Cox said.

In separate but related news, four other Mercer Law School students recently earned awards in three separate competitions:

  • Mercer Law students Louise Smith and Christy Thornton won the “Best Brief Award” in the regional BLSA Douglass Competition held in January. The southern region is home to over 1,500 members from 44 law schools in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Puerto Rico. The students were coached by third-year Mercer Law student Amanda Heath and advised by Associate Professor Monica Armstrong and alumna Hannah Williams '09.
  • Third-year Mercer Law student Kathryn Seabolt won the ‘Hot Seat’ Corporate Counseling Tournament sponsored by the national Association of Corporate Counsel, Georgia Chapter. The tournament, held Nov. 11 in Atlanta, included a representative from each Georgia law school who was asked to play a new in-house general counsel facing a “difficult” corporate board. After being given a fictitious problem involving a large global corporation being faced with federal corrupt practices, and employment and governance problems, participants were asked to advise a fictitious corporate board on how best to handle the difficult situation. The competition was judged by four ACC attorneys and some 100 Georgia in-house attorneys, who served as the tournament audience during the “hot seat” sessions.
  • Third-year Mercer Law student Michael Lyles was named the first-place winner in the 2009 Keenan’s Kids Foundation’s 7th Annual Law Student Closing Argument Competition held Nov. 7. The Keenan’s Kids Foundation was established 1993 by the Keenan Law Firm to raise awareness about child safety. Students applied to compete from all five state law schools. Each student was given 15 minutes to give an argument while being judged by a panel composed of members of the local media, experienced plaintiff and defense lawyers, and parents of an injured child who had gone through the civil litigation process.


About Mercer Law School
Founded in 1873, the Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law is one of the oldest law schools in the United States and the first one in the state of Georgia accredited by the American Bar Association. Mercer Law School’s educational philosophy is based on a broadly shared commitment to prepare students for the high-quality, general practice of law in a day-to-day learning environment that is both strongly supportive and consistently professional. Its innovative Woodruff Curriculum – which focuses on ethics and practical skills amid small class sizes – earned the Gambrell Professionalism Award from the ABA for its “depth of excellence.” With an enrollment of about 430 students, Mercer Law School is nationally recognized for its exceptional programs in legal writing, moot court, public service, and ethics and professionalism. For more information about Mercer Law School, visit or call (478) 301-5000.