Columbia Law School’s Paul, Weiss Frederick Douglass Moot Court Teams Excel at National Competition

New York, March 26, 2013—After securing first and second place in the qualifying regional competition, two pairs on Columbia Law School’s Paul, Weiss Frederick Douglass Moot Court team won even more recognition at the national championship of the 2012-2013 Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition.  

Created and administered by the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), the annual Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition focuses primarily on public and constitutional law, as well as topics of particular relevance to law students of color.
This year’s competition began with more than 100 teams from law schools across the country. Only the top 18 teams advanced to the national competition, which was held March 6-10 in Atlanta, Ga. as part of the NBLSA’s annual convention. This year’s problem concerned the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, a Fifth Amendment challenge to a compliance order issued under the Clean Water Act, and a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency under the eminent domain clause of the Fifth Amendment.
In qualifying for the national competition, the Columbia Law School team, consisting entirely of 1Ls, took home four of the six awards at the NBLSA’s regional competition in late January.
John Goodwin ’15 and Whitney Hayes ’15 won the regional final while Jocelyn Greer ’15 and Garrett Schuman ’15 came in second. Taylor Hartstein ’15 and Madiba Dennie ’15 won for Best Respondent Brief, and Kate Ferguson ’15 won for Best Oral Advocate.
At the national level, Columbia's teams faced fierce competition from a diverse group of schools and upper-year competitors.
Goodwin and Hayes finished in fourth place and received the award for Best Petitioner Brief. Goodwin also was honored as Best Oral Advocate. Though the competition does not limit participation to first-year students, Columbia’s program focuses on 1Ls, pushing them to challenge themselves.
The team was coached by Dinah Manning ’14 and Miheer Mhatre ’14. Brief editors were Chisara Ezie ’14, Jarrell Mitchell ’14 and Rajan Trehan ’14. Lecturer-in-Law Tope Yusuf taught the accompanying legal practice workshop, and Professor Philip M. Genty leads the legal research and writing program in his capacity as the advisor to Columbia’s moot court program, including its Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison Moot Court Program, which is made possible by the generous support of Paul, Weiss.