Law students coached Philadelphia teens to victory in the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Moot Court Competition, which focused on a First Amendment case dealing with a school’s anti-gang paraphernalia policy.
Haley Abernathy, a pupil at Philadelphia’s Creative and Performing Arts High School, was named Best Oral Advocate, while Morgan Smalls, a pupil at Philadelphia’s Science Leadership Academy was named Second Place Oral Advocate in the Feb. 6 competition.
3L Tony Cassese and 2L Chelsey Christiansen coached Abernathy, while 3Ls Caitlin Harley and Daniel Keenan coached Smalls.
The competition is the culmination of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, which engages pupils from urban high schools and allows law students to serve as mentors who teach the teens about the power of the U.S. Constitution and its relevance in their lives.
Law students teach lessons on the legal system and the constitution at Philadelphia high schools and then groom interested teens for moot court competitions.
The local competition was judged by Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge John Milton Younge, a nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Marlene Lachman and Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael Fanning.
The winners and the following teens will travel to Washington, D.C. with their mentors for the national competition on April 8.
- Finalist Kayla Frison of the Creative and Performing Arts High School, coached by Cassese and Christiansen
- Finalist Maurice James of the Creative and Performing Arts High School, coached by 2Ls Immon Shafiei and Alexandra Wysocki
- Mikayla Brailsford of Science and Leadership Academy – Beeber Campus, coached by 2Ls Eve Cohen and Jason Saruya
- Jayliyah Hall of South Philadelphia High School, coached by 2Ls Lauren Burnetta and Kevin Carter