Moot Team Wins Best Brief at ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition


Members of Miami Law's Moot Court teams

Two Miami Law moot court teams recently competed in the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition in Brooklyn, NY. One team, consisting of Ian Campa, 2L, Elizabeth Gil, 3L, and brief writer Jennifer Helmy, 2L, won the best brief out of 32 teams in the competition. The second team of Luis Reyes, 2L, Courtney Willoughby, 2L, and brief writer Andrew Sarangoulis, 3L, won the fifth best brief. Both teams made it to the final round of the regional competition.

"I consider winning Best Brief as a highlight of my law school career to date,” said Helmy.  “It was only possible through the help of my team members, Elizabeth Gil and Ian Campa, who both put extensive effort into researching and editing the brief with me. I was lucky to have such a talented team, and we were motivated to work together to represent Miami Law to the best of our abilities."

The teams worked closely with their coach, Assistant Public Defender for Miami-Dade County and Miami Law Adjunct Faculty member, Harvey Sepler. Professor Sepler was instrumental in helping develop the team’s oral advocacy skills.

The ABA organizes a National Appellate Advocacy Competition every year and divides it regionally into six locations. 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.

This year, the case at issue consisted of alleged Title IX violations on behalf of a public university against a student of the university. The first issue, an administrative law problem, asked what level of deference the court should afford the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights about the duties of educational institutions to investigate allegations of student-on-student assault that occur off campus. The second issue addressed whether Title IX allows a claim for relief against a university that refused to investigate an allegation of student-on-student harassment because it occurred off-campus and outside the context of a university program.

Miami Law’s Charles Papy, Jr. Moot Court Board was recently ranked 14th best moot court of this decade.