Win in D.C. - Best Oralist and Runner-Up in Wechsler First Amendment Moot Competition


Out of twenty-eight teams, 3Ls Elise Haverman and Erik Tarrash were named Best Oralist and Runner-Up Best Oralist, respectively, in the 23rd Annual Burton D. Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court Competition in Washington, D.C. at American University Washington School of Law. Moot court competitions are about both written and oral advocacy and awards for best briefs or best oralists are a prestigious honor.

Bill Dean, Elise Haverman, Erik Tarrash and Michael Davis

“It was humbling winning Best Oralist,” says Haverman, who is SBA President and a member of the Charles C. Papy, Jr. Moot Court Board, “I would not have won this award without my teammate, Erik Tarrash, pushing me to do better each practice round and being there with me every step of the way.

“Our coaches, Bill Dean and Michael T. Davis, were integral in our success by taking time out of their busy schedules to help us succeed to our full potential. This competition only reaffirms my passion for arguing in a courtroom. It was a privilege to bring back these awards on behalf of myself, my coaches, my amazing partner Erik, and the University of Miami School of Law.”

The team’s head coach Michael Davis practices law in the areas of appellate, criminal defense and civil litigation, and the assistant coach Bill Dean holds specialized certifications in trial advocacy.

The Wechsler competition is held annually based on current First Amendment law issues. This year’s competition focused on the constitutionality of a local city ordinance regulation. Participants were required to write and submit a brief, as well as present oral arguments before a panel of judges, which featured the Honorable Judges Roger L. Gregory, Timothy D. Dyk, and Reggie B. Walton in the final round.

"It was an honor representing the University of Miami and bringing back some hardware for the Moot Court Team,” said Tarrash. “Working with my partner, Elise Haverman, made the experience enjoyable and memorable. Special thanks to our coaches Bill Dean and Michael T. Davis for all of their hard work. We couldn't have done it without them.”