Paul, Weiss Frederick Douglass Moot Court Team Dominates Northeast Regional Competition

New York, February 19, 2015—The Paul, Weiss Frederick Douglass Moot Court team at Columbia Law School triumphed Jan. 28 through Feb. 1 at the Northeast Region of the National Black Law Students Association Convention, winning all six possible awards in a field of 24 teams and 48 competitors. The three-day event was held in Groton, Connecticut.
Columbia Law School students, all first-year J.D. candidates, competed with predominantly second- and third-year students from law schools throughout the region in brief-writing and oral arguments. This year’s problem concerned a constitutional challenge to a voter identification law, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the question of whether certain NCAA student-athletes should be considered employees.

First place went to Nico Gurian ’17 and Jachele Velez ’17, second place to Courtney Hodge ’17 and Jake Lewis ’17, and third place to Victor Obasaju ’17 and Nicole Smith ’17. Obasaju and Smith also won Best Petitioner Brief, while Ashley Lherisson ‘17 and Toader Mateoc ’17 won Best Respondent Brief. Lewis also won Best Oral Advocate. The first, second, and third place teams from the Northeast Region will go on to compete in mid-March against 15 other teams at the National Black Law Students Association Convention in Portland, Oregon.

Other members of the Paul, Weiss Frederick Douglass Moot Court team at Columbia Law School include quarterfinalist pairs Jeffrey Then ’17 and Alice Wang ’17, and Tito Kolawole ’17 and Austin Uhm ’17. Every other team made it to the elimination rounds, including Lherisson and Mateoc, Michael DiBattista ‘17 and Ashley Dixon ’17, and Stephan Bradley ’17 and Andrea Flores ’17.

The team is coached by Catherine Djang ’16 and Archan Hazra ’16. Emily Harris ’16, Demi Lorant ’16, and Thomas Swanson ’16 are the team’s brief editors.

The Frederick Douglass Moot Court competition, held annually since 1975 by the National Black Law Students Association, focuses primarily on public law and topics of particular relevance to students of color. Columbia Law School’s participation is made possible by the generous support of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.