BLSA Teams Excel at Western Regional Competition
Evening students Bernetta Hardy and Anne Cheung ruled the Black Law Student Association's (BLSA) Western Region Competition recently held in Los Angeles, triumphing over the team from Stanford to win the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition and earning the opportunity to compete in the national rounds in Detroit at the end of March. In addition to their First Place Team honors, the second-year students received the award for Best Brief, and Cheung was named Best Oralist.
The problem had two components. Hardy worked on a First Amendment issue regarding whether or not a school violated a child's right to freedom of speech when it permanently suspended the child for failing to cover up a t-shirt worn in a public square during an event where it is questionable whether that event was a "school activity." Cheung's component involved a statutory construction issue regarding whether or not compensatory and punitive damages area available remedies for a claim of violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. "I found the competition an excellent opportunity to exercise my writing muscle," Cheung said. "It was the one thing that we were on our own with, so we are very proud to have won Best Brief. Also, I am floored by the support of the faculty who took the time out to judge our practice rounds. Since we are evening students, many came on Saturdays to help us."
Tania Williams '06, who earned an LL.M. at Southwestern, coached the winning team. "What set Anne and Bernetta apart was their evident preparation and understanding of the issues," Williams said. "One of the judges approached me after the competition to tell me he thought our team had a very commanding understanding of the problem and were able to convey it effectively. This comment was even more compelling because it came from an attorney who clerked for a federal judge in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and had seen many appellate arguments."