Miami Law Takes First Place in Earle Zehmer Moot Court Competition


Berenice Mottin-Berger and Nejla Calvo at the competition.After ending last year ranked ninth best moot court team in the country, Miami Law’sCharles C. Papy, Jr. Moot Court Board continues its winning ways by placing first in the 27th Annual Earle Zehmer Workers' Compensation Moot Court Competition. The team, which consisted of 3Ls Berenice Mottin-Berger and Nejla Calvo, also was awarded best brief in the competition.

"After weeks of preparation and practice, we were ecstatic to win the E. Earle Zehmer National Workers' Compensation Moot Court Competition,” said Calvo. “It was a victory for ourselves, our coaches, the UM Moot Court Board, and the Miami Law community as a whole."

The Earle Zehmer Moot Court Competition is one of the most unique moot court competitions in the world. The judges in the preliminary rounds of this competition are judges, commissioners, and other adjudicators who hear workers’ compensation cases on a regular basis. The final round of the Zehmer competition was judged by three current judges of the Florida First District Court of Appeal – the Honorable Robert T. Benton, the Honorable Simone Marstiller, and the Honorable Scott D. Makar.

The District Court has been responsible for hearing appeals of Florida workers’ compensation cases in Florida for many years. The late Judge Zehmer was a member of this court, and an avid supporter of this competition. The contestants who rise to the top in the preliminary rounds face the same challenge that any attorney at oral argument of a workers’ compensation case faces, a real appellate court panel. This is a real world experience that few law students will ever experience.

The Zehmer competition is also unique in its focus on workers’ compensation issues. Most moot court competitions cover a variety of substantive law. The Zehmer competition, however, focuses on the interest in workers’ compensation law.

"Competing in the Zehmer competition was an incredible experience,” said Mottin-Berger. “Writing, researching, and advocating in a field where neither Nejla nor I had prior experience made the competition challenging and the victory that much more rewarding. We are very proud to have kept the Miami Law Moot Court winning streak alive."

The team was coached by Eric Eves, JD ’11, who served as Vice President of the Charles C. Papy, Jr. Moot Court Board when he was a student at Miami Law.

“We are incredibly excited for Nejla and Berenice, and are proud that they started our year off with a bang,” says David T. Coulter, President of the Moot Court Board. “The Board looks forward to carrying this momentum into this year’s remaining competitions.”