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Kline Law Wins Regional Round of National Moot Court Competition

Photo of student facing judges in Kline moot court competition stylized with newspaper effect

December 21, 2020

Two Kline School of Law moot court teams reached the finals for Region Three of the National Moot Court Competition, one of the oldest and most prestigious moot court competitions in the country.

This year students competed virtually, arguing a fictitious case involving healthcare fraud and the propriety of governmental action under exigent circumstances during a global pandemic.

The final round led to the unprecedented: two Kline Law teams competed against one another after beating a field of nine other teams in the region. “I am so proud of the hard work and dedication of both of these teams, not only separately but also [of] their willingness to work together and help the other team succeed,” said coach Meghan Sandora ’17.

Students from both Kline Law teams earned individual awards. 3Ls Shauna Duggan, Katherine Avetta, and Michael Burke formed the winning team. Judges named Avetta the best speaker in the final round, and Burke won accolades as one of the two best speakers in the semifinal round. “I feel incredibly humbled to have had the opportunity to work with such talented partners,” said Avetta.

The runners-up included 3Ls Aidan Carickhoff, Craig Gill, and Lindsey McElhatten. They won the top seed in the preliminary rounds and best brief in the competition. Carickhoff was named second best speaker in the final round.

McElhatten remarked that competing against another Kline Law team was “icing on the cake” and “demonstrates how strong the Moot Court program is at the Kline School of Law.” She also said that she knows the winning team will “absolutely crush it” when they face off against 28 other teams in the national round in February 2021.

Professor Veronica Finkelstein, who also coaches the team and has served as a Kline Law adjunct faculty member since 2010, said she “could not be more proud of these two teams.” Both thrilled and devastated when they advanced to the final round, Finkelstein said that all the Kline Law students “showed exemplary professionalism under the circumstances, and I am honestly more proud of their good sportsmanship than I am of their advocacy.”

Due to the pandemic, teams competed virtually this year. This didn’t hold Kline Law students back. “These students rose to the occasion,” said Finkelstein, “finding novel ways to jointly write a brief and practice their oral argument online while physically separated. Their familiarity with the online format served them well in competition. I have no doubt that they would have excelled in an in-person competition but the online format truly allowed them to shine.”