Miami Law Moot Team Comes in Second at National Appellate Advocacy Regional Competition

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Miami Law’s team of Jessica Underwood, 3L, Matthew Keilson, 2L, and Gabriel Mandler, 2L, made it to the final round of the National Appellate Advocacy Regional Competition in Brooklyn, New York, where they lost to Seton Hall University.  Keilson received an award for being the 5th best oralist in the competition.

"I’m very proud of how well our team performed,” said Keilson. “Each round was hard-fought. Our team performed extremely well against schools that also have great moot court programs. During the competition, our team earned a strong brief score and maintained high oral scores.”

A second team from Miami Law - Michael Braunstein, 2L, Connie Chen, 2L, and Brooke Patterson, 2L - made it to the semi-finals.

The ABA Law Student Division National Appellate Advocacy Competition emphasizes the development of oral advocacy skills through a realistic appellate advocacy experience. Competitors participate in a hypothetical appeal to the United States Supreme Court. The competition involves writing a brief as either respondent or petitioner and then arguing the case in front of the mock court.

Both Miami Law teams were coached by Adjunct Professor Harvey Sepler, JD ’84, who is an Assistant Public Defender for Miami-Dade.  He has served as a coach for the Charles C. Papy, Jr. Moot Court teams for many years.

“I was honored to represent the University and the Charles C. Papy, Jr. Moot Court Board at NAAC,” said Underwood. “The competition was an incredible experience.  As we advanced through the rounds, my partner and I faced some well-known schools and tough competition, yet we succeeded because of our preparation with Professor Sepler and the practitioners who generously gave their time to us.  In the end, it was extremely rewarding and exciting to argue in the final round with my team.”  

A total of 33 teams competed in this year’s moot competition. Miami Law also finished strong in the 2013 and 2014 competitions.

“It was an incredible experience to compete against some of the best schools and oralists from around the country to see where we measure,” said Mandler. “We wanted to make our board and the rest of the student body proud and we hope we achieved that.”