Moot Court Team Takes Nationals, Headed to Finals
At the regional round of the Nationals Moot Court Competition held in Orange, California, Southwestern's team of Daneen Furr, Vince Nguyen and Benjamin Sampson swept the competition. They defeated students from Pepperdine Law School in the final round, taking First Place Team honors in a unanimous decision from the bench. Overall, the team went undefeated in the preliminary and final rounds, earned Best Brief and Benjamin Sampson won the Best Oralist award. In January, the team will travel to New York to compete at the National Competition.
The competition also featured 12 other teams from UCLA, University of San Diego, Arizona State, Chapman, Loyola and Thomas Jefferson. They argued whether a police officer was entitled to qualified immunity for allegedly violating the first Amendment when he interrupted a protestor's recording of an undercover police officer's conversation and prevented it's dissemination, and for violating the fourth Amendment when he proceeded to search the cell phone following a seizure.
"The overwhelming amount of support from the faculty and students at Southwestern gave us an edge over our competitors," Sampson said. "The practice rounds are incredibly time consuming but the faculty and moot court members were always happy to stick around and provide invaluable feedback."
Professor Jennifer Rodriguez-Fee, Supervising Attorney for Southwestern's Children's Rights Clinic, coached the team. "The overall performance by this Nationals team, in both oral advocacy and brief-writing, is without a doubt, the best I have seen," she said. "I am not alone in this opinion as the team was told by multiple judges at the competition that their performance was vastly superior to attorneys currently practicing in appellate advocacy. Ben, Daneen and Vince worked incredibly hard and all have natural ability that will take them far in their legal careers. I am honored to continue working with this team as we prepare for the National Competition this January."
Sampson went on to say, "As much as I am honored to win Best Oralist, it is only an additional reminder of how lucky I am to be part of such an extraordinary team. Vincent is a brilliant writer and Daneen is always the most persuasive advocate in the room. Throughout the good and bad moments in this competition we stuck together as a team, so any recognition cuts three ways."