New York, March 31, 2012—After sweeping the qualifying regional competition, the Columbia Law School teams nabbed four of the six awards at the national championship of the 2011-2012 Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition (FDMCC). Created and administered by the National Black Law Students Association, the annual Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition focuses primarily on public law and topics of particular relevance to law students of color.
This year’s competition began with more than a hundred teams from law schools across the country and only the top 18 (three teams from each of the six regions) continued to the final, national round, which was held in Washington, DC as part of the NBLSA’s annual convention March 7-11.
In qualifying for the national level, the Columbia Law School teams, consisting entirely of 1Ls, took home all the awards at the Northeast Black Law Students Association’s regional competition in late January. Demetri Blaisdell ’14 and Dinah Manning ’14 won the regional match and Jarrell Mitchell ’14 and Jack Starcher ’14 came in second. Starcher also received the Best Oral Advocate award. In addition to securing the third spot for the national competition, Amal Deria ’14 and Miheer Mhatre ’14 also were recognized for the Best Respondent Brief, while fellow classmates Coy Estres Brewer III and Valerie Chisara Ezie received the Best Petitioner Brief award.
Back row (left to right): Demetri Blaisdell, Jarrell Mitchell, Sean Berens, Jason Georges, Miheer Mhatre, Chadé Severin, John Fowler, Dinah Manning
Front row (left to right): Jack Starcher, Amal Deria, Tabisa Walwema (BLSA Rep at the Convention, Regional Team Member), Funmi Showole (BLSA Rep, former Fred Doug National Competitor)
Columbia's teams faced fierce competition from a diverse group of schools and more experienced competitors.
At the close of the competition, Blaisdell and Manning took home First Runner-Up and Mitchell and Starcher followed them with Second Runner-Up. Blaisdell was honored as Second Best Oral Advocate, and Deria and Mhatre received the award for Best Respondent Brief. Though the competition does not limit participation to first-year students, Columbia’s program focuses on 1Ls, pushing them to challenge themselves. Upperclassmen provide guidance and assistance.
The team was coached by John Fowler ’13 and Chadé Severin ’13 and the brief editors were Sean Berens ‘13 and Jason Georges ’13. Lecturer-in-law Tope Yusuf taught the Frederick Douglass Legal Practice Workshop, and Professor Philip Genty leads the legal research and writing program in his capacity as the advisor to Columbia’s Moot Court Program. Columbia Law School's Moot Court Program is made possible by the generous support of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP.
NEBLSA Regional Winners
Team Awards Champion: Columbia Law School, Demetri Blaisdell and Dinah Manning First Runner-up: Columbia Law School, Jarrell Mitchell and Jack Starcher Second Runner-up: Columbia Law School, Amal Deria and Miheer Mhatre
Individual & Brief Awards Best Petitioner Brief: Columbia Law School, Demetri Blaisdell and Dinah Manning Best Respondent Brief: Columbia Law School, Amal Deria and Miheer Mhatre Best Oral Advocate: Columbia Law School, Jack Starcher
First Runner-up: Columbia Law School, Demetri Blaisdell and Dinah Manning Second Runner-up: Columbia Law School, Jarrell Mitchell and Jack Starcher
Best Respondent Brief: Columbia Law School, Amal Deria and Miheer Mhatre
Second Best Oral Advocate: Columbia Law School, Demetri Blaisdell
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