University of Arizona Law Students Stand Out in 2022-23 Legal Skills Competitions

May 16, 2023

Check out the highlights from this year’s competitions

Each year, students at University of Arizona Law compete in local, regional, and national moot court and mock trial competitions, giving them the opportunity to put their advocacy skills to the test beyond the classroom. Check out the highlights from this year’s competitions:    

ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition 

This March, University of Law’s ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition teams traveled to San Francisco for the regional competition. The team of Alyssa Dormer (3L), Katerina Grainger (3L), and Joseph Rousos-Hammond (3L) advanced to the semi-final round. The team of Sonum Dixit (3L), Derek Kilgore (3L), and Robert Teuton (3L) submitted strong performances in three rounds of competition oral argument. 

Special thanks go to the many University of Arizona Law faculty members and alumni who helped prepare the teams, including former NAAC team members Kristine Alger (‘14), Ashley Caballero- Daltrey (‘20), Nick Knauer (‘11), Bern Velasco (‘17), and Jayme Weber (‘15); faculty members David Bodney, Andrew Coan, Tessa Dysart, Sylvia Lett, Toni Massaro, Laura Reilly, team coach Susie Salmon, Diana Simon, and Shannon Trebbe (‘10); and Amy Knight.  

Administered by the American Bar Association’s Law Student Division, the National Appellate Advocacy Competition is one of the most competitive moot court competitions in the country, drawing almost 200 teams from across the country who compete in six regional oral argument rounds. Teams draft briefs and present oral arguments in a simulated case before the United States Supreme Court. 

Barry Davis National Trial Team 

This year’s University of Arizona Law’s Barry Davis National Trial Teams included Andrew Wallace (2L), Derek Kilgore (3L), Haley Steward (3L), Hannah Hays (2L), Jade DuBroy (2L), Lydia Nelson (2L), Max Larnerd (3L), Sarah Gerstel (3L), Slam Dunkley (3L) and Zack Schmike (2L). Teams did not advance from regionals to the National Trial Competition but for the first time in five years, they beat the best team in the region, UC Berkeley. 

Giles S. Rich Moot Court Competition  

 The Giles Sutherland Rich Moot Court Competition presents problems directed to patent law and related litigation issues. Since it first participated in the Competition in 2016, the University of Arizona Law team has experienced considerable success, winning best appellate brief in two out of the last three years and reaching the regional finals and advancing to the national competition in both of the last two years.  This year, the team was coached jointly by Judge J. William Brammer, Jr. (‘67), Paige E. Scalf (‘21), and Professor of Intellectual Property Allan J. Sternstein

Luke Yoshida (3L), Zack Schimke (2L), Andrew Macdonald (2L), and Roberta Lam (2L) traveled to Houston in March to compete in this year’s competition. 

Jeffrey G. Miller National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition 

The University of Arizona Law team of Marley Grosskopf (3L), Jake Marsh (3L), and Sierra Rhodes (3L) competed virtually in February 2023, and were among the 27 teams that successfully advanced to the quarterfinals.  

The team enjoyed excellent preparation and advice from several Arizona law faculty members, including coach Joy Herr-Cardillo, Kirsten Engel, and Stephanie Stern, as well as former team members and alumni Ashley Caballero-Daltrey ('20), Ezekiel Peterson ('21), and Darya Anderson ('22).  

Joseph Jenckes Competition 

The annual Joseph Jenckes Competition is a closing arguments competition between students from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University (ASU). Each law school selects two students to be on their team. This year, the competition was held in November at ASU. Derek Kilgore (3L) and Jade DuBroy (2L) represented University of Arizona Law and were unfortunately defeated by ASU.  

The judges of the competition are the Arizona members of the American College of Trial Lawyers, an honorary society of trial lawyers whose membership is limited to 1% of the practicing bar. Being selected to membership is a significant honor, and the College's membership includes the most prominent trial lawyers in Arizona. 

The Joseph Jenckes Competition has been held for over fifty years. It is sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers and is held every year at one of the colleges. 

Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition 

Jessup Team Members Adrian Braude (2L), Eric Furreboe (2L), Alex A. Hale (2L), and Allison Weber (2L) battled twelve other teams in the Rocky Mountain Regionals at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law in late March. They scored well in the memorial competition and proved their grasp of difficult issues of human rights, armed international aggression, and environmental harm in the oral rounds. Congratulations on a job well done, and kudos to coach Shirley Spira for another great year. 

Richard Grand Closing Argument Competition 

The Richard Grand Closing Argument Competition is an internal competition established in 1995 by the late Richard Grand (‘58), a Tucson-area plaintiffs’ attorney. 

He conceived the idea of a competition which would emphasize jury arguments focusing on damages. Five finalists are selected from a preliminary round and then compete in a final round often judged by alumni who have previously won the competition. This year’s finalist included: 

1st place ($2,500 prize) - Samantha Barrera (1L) 
2nd place ($1,500 prize) - Max Larnerd (3L) 
3rd place ($500 prize) - Derek Kilgore (3L) 
4th place ($250 prize each) - Jade DuBroy (2L) and Zack Schimke (2L) 

The monetary awards are made possible by Grand’s widow Marcia Grand.  

Samuel M. Fegtly Moot Court Competition 

In April, the final round of the Samuel M. Fegtly Intramural Moot Court Competition was held at University of Arizona Law. This internal moot-court competition, which allows 2L and 3L students to argue an appellate case, has been funded by alum J. Scott Burns (’76) in honor of his father, F. Britton Burns (’41), since 1985. 

This year, students argued the constitutionality of a forensic cell phone search at the border. Hannah Hays (2L) and Lauren Rhoades (2L) argued in the final round before Judge Allison Eid (United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit), Judge James Ho (United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit) and noted United States Supreme Court advocate Allyson Ho (Gibson Dunn). Rhoades won the F. Britton Burns award for best oral argument, Hays won the Samuel M. Fegtly award for best combined score in the preliminary rounds, and Allison Weber (2L) won the Suzanne Rabe Award for best brief.  

Congratulations to all the participants and thank you to the Burns family for their continued support. Thank you also to the many alumni and local attorneys who helped judge the preliminary rounds.  

Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition  

On February 4, Gloria Farrisi (3L), Violet Konopka (2L), Guy Forte (3L) and Grace Gephardt (2L) argued in the Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition southwestern regional held at the Federal District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles against teams from Arizona and Southern California.  

Run by the International Trademark Association, the Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition involves emerging issues in U.S. trademark and unfair competition law. Approximately 80 schools send teams to the competition each year.