The National Moot Court Trial Team had a successful school year. Associate Dean Andrew Rossner, the Moot Court Faculty Advisor, shared this overview of the events that took place in 2019-20.
Moot Court Board’s Annual David and Albert Cohn Appellate Moot Court Competition- Fall 2019
The Moot Court Board held its annual Cohn Appellate Competition during the past Fall semester. This year, MCB members worked hard, with a great amount of guidance and assistance from Dean Chen, to create a case packet modeled after the Trump Administration’s ending of the DACA program. After two preliminary rounds and a semi-final round—judged by MCB alumni—Sam Taddeo RLAW '20 and William Olson RLAW '21 advanced to the final round. Sam Taddeo, arguing for the Petitioner, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, came in first place and William Olson, arguing for the Respondent, a small law firm, came in second place. The arguments were held before NJ Supreme Court Justice Jaynee Lavecchia, Presiding Judge on the NJ Superior Court, Appellate Division Carmen Messano, and our very own former Co-Dean Ronald Chen.
Moot Court Board’s Annual Nathan Baker Mock Trial Competition- Spring 2020
The Moot Court Board held its annual Baker Mock Trial competition during the Spring semester this year where teams composed of two tried a criminal case concerning an attempted murder and attempt to damage real property affecting interstate and foreign commerce using a weapon of mass destruction. After two preliminary rounds and a semi-final round—judged by MCB Alumni and other practicing attorneys—co-counsel Jared Hotchkiss RLAW '21 and Kelly Donoghue RLAW '21 and co-counsel Tamara Faddish RLAW '20 and Michael Chachura RLAW '21 participated as finalists in the Baker Competition and presented their cases in front of the Magistrate Judge James Clark of the U.S. District Court of the District of New Jersey. Jared Hotchkiss & Kelly Donoghue, representing the Defense came in first place and Tamara Faddish and Michael Chachura, representing prosecution came in second place.
Moot Court Board’s National Mock Trial Team
This year, the Mock Trial Team consisted of 11 members: Opeyemi Akinde RLAW ‘20, Max Bosco RLAW ‘20, Soundous Bouchouar RLAW ‘20, Elizabeth Driscoll RLAW ‘20, Nicholas Gallinger RLAW ‘20, Maria Nieto RLAW ‘20, Jessica Shapiro RLAW ‘20, Christopher Winters RLAW ‘20, Andy Amakihe RLAW ‘21, Pierre Avalos RLAW ‘21, Jared Hotchkiss RLAW ‘21. The team was coached by Associate Dean Andrew Rossner, Samantha McCluskey RLAW ’16, Deputy Attorney General for the NJ Office of the Attorney General, and Rutherford Livengood, retired Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor at the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. The coaches put a tremendous amount of time and effort into the team’s success. Their dedication is much appreciated. Throughout the 2019-2020 academic year, the team participated in 3 competitions. Team members Akinde, Avalos, Bosco, and Shapiro were to compete in the invitational 2020 John Marshall National Criminal Justice Trial Competition in Chicago, Illinois. Although they spent countless hours preparing, the competition was cancelled due to the pandemic.
In the Fall semester, team members Max Bosco, Nicholas Gallinger, Pierre Avalos, and Jared Hotchkiss, came in third place in the Queen’s District Attorney’s invitation Mock Trial Competition out of 16 teams, besting St. John’s Law in the semi-final round. The team had to conduct a full trial of a criminal case before sitting judges in Queens County. The case involved a homicide and potential misidentification. Rutgers bested 13 highly competitive teams including Hofstra, St. Johns, Touro, New York, Virginia, Boston, Chicago-Kent, Seton Hall, Quinnipiac and University of Connecticut Law.
In the Fall semester, team members Opeyemi Akinde, Andy Amakihe, Max Bosco, Soundous Bouchouar, Elizabeth Driscoll, Maria Nieto, Jessica Shapiro, and Christopher Winters competed in the ABA National Trial Competition-NY Regional. The team represented both sides on a Whistle-Blower claim. Akinde, Amikahe, Nieto, Shapiro advanced to the semifinal round and although the team competed superbly, they were edged out in a close semi-final round by St. Johns Law. By advancing to the semi-final round, the team bested 10 other regional schools, including Brooklyn and Fordham Law.
In February 2020, Rutgers Law was well represented at the Texas Young Lawyers National Trial Competition Regionals hosted by Drexel Law School in Philadelphia. The team competed against 21 other teams from regional law schools, including the University of Pennsylvania, Temple, Duquesne, University of Pittsburgh, Seton Hall and Villanova Law Schools. The team competed in six rounds at the competition and for each round, the team conducted full trials of a civil tort case with a wrongful death claim. The team members were, Andy Amikahe, Soundous Bouchouar, Nicholas Gallinger, Elizabeth Driscoll, Maria Nieto, and Christopher Winters. During the three-day competition, the team won three of six rounds.
Moot Court Board’s National Appellate Advocacy Team
The National Appellate Advocacy Team competed in the ABA 2019-2020 National Appellate Advocacy Competition Regionals in Brooklyn. The team consisted of Adam Conrad RLAW ‘20, Julia Burzynski RLAW ‘21, and Ryan Lindsey RLAW ‘21. The team was coached by Rutgers Law Alumni Stephen Marietta RLAW ’17 with the assistance of Alison Moody RLAW ’19. The coaches put in many hours to practices and their hard work is much appreciated. A special thanks to Stephen Marietta for his dedication to rebooting and ensuring the success of the NAAT. As part of their participation in the competition, the team submitted a brief on behalf Petitioner-Defendant and argued both sides at the competition. The issue on appeal was whether the government’s failure to disclose material exculpatory evidence before accepting a defendant’s guilty plea violates the due process principles outlined in Brady v. Maryland. Rutgers Law was well represented at the competition by the team.
Rutgers Law- Newark Arbitration Team
This year, the MCB had the goal of expanding opportunities to students interested in arbitration by providing funding for at least one team to participate in a local competition. The Rutgers Arbitration Team competed in the New York State Bar Association’s 5th Annual Judith S. Kaye Arbitration Competition in the Fall of 2019. The team consisted of Joseph Sparacio RLAW ‘20, Yohan Nah RLAW ‘21, and Maxim Genel RLAW ‘21. They were coached by Professor Sheryl Mintz Goski who dedicated many hours in coaching the team for the competition. Professor Goski’s dedication to educating students at Rutgers in arbitration is greatly appreciated. The dispute for the competition concerned insurance coverage for an expensive pharmaceutical drug. At the competition, the team represented both sides—the Insurance Company and the family requesting coverage for the daughter’s terminal illness. The team won “Best Closing Argument.”
Rutgers Law-Newark International Moot Court Team 2019-2020
The Rutgers Law-Newark International Moot Court Team competed in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition Northeast regional rounds, winning two of the four rounds, against some Ivy League Law Schools. The Jessup Competition centers around issues of international law, with each team representing the interests of two opposing countries. This year’s case, The Case Concerning the Helian Hyacinth, required competitors to research and argue about issues such as autonomous weapons, the lawful use of force, border rights, international trade agreements and tariffs, diplomatic immunity and the International Criminal Court, the succession of new States to treaties, and the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
The team spent the Fall researching international case law, scholarly work, and evidence of State practice dating back to the 1800s in order to prepare briefs for the International Court of Justice. Throughout the Fall and Spring, the team was mooted multiple times each week by panels of faculty, students, alumni, and practicing attorneys to refine the team’s arguments and reinforce the basics of international law. The team argued their case in the Spring before panels of judges, some of whom had clerked at the International Court of Justice, and served as Legal Advisors to the Governments of Israel and the UAE.
The team consisted of: Zane Byrd RLAW ‘20, Vivian Isaboke RLAW ‘20, M’Ballou Sanogho RLAW ‘20, John Gallagher RLAW ‘20, and Navin Raj RLAW ‘21. The team was coached by: Rutgers Law Adjunct Prof. William Schroeder, Rutgers Law Associate Prof. Jorge Contesse, and Rutgers Law Assistant Prof. Jootaek Lee. The team also received guidance and mooting from a diverse array of faculty, students, alumni, and practicing attorneys, as well as financial support from the Rutgers Law Alumni Association.