Mercer Wins Vale Moot Court Competition and Makes Strong Showings at other Advocacy Competitions


Mercer Law School's team of third-year students Brian Aplin, Milinda Brown and Justin Sanders won first place in the 29th Annual Ruby R. Vale Interschool Corporate Moot Court Competition, held March 16-19, 2017, at Widener University Delaware Law School.

Mercer Law School defeated Michigan State University School of Law in the final round of the competition, which included 20 teams representing 17 different law schools from across the country.

Mercer has participated in the Vale competition 13 times since 2003 and has reached the final round eight times, but had never placed first until this year.

The team was coached by Associate Professor Chris Wells, who praised the students for their efforts in researching and preparing for oral arguments on a topic in which they had not specialized prior to the competition.

“I learned at my Colorado ranch that if you get bucked off a horse twice its a good idea to find another horse,” said Wells. “Mercer Law has been bucked off in the Vale Moot Court final round seven times in the last dozen or so years. I'm glad we saddled up an eighth time. Our Mercer Law students showed courage and talent under enormous pressure. Their intelligence, poise and preparation kept them on top all week.” 

Additionally, a second Mercer Law team of third-year students Jenny Suggs, Nathan DeLoatch and Austin Gibson also performed exceptionally well during the competition. Alumnus and public defender Andrew M. Feagan, '15, coached this team, devoting hours to helping the students prepare for the competition.

At the same time, students Mandisa Styles and Lauren Marie advanced to the final round of the ABA National Client Counseling Competition at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, beating every team but one. Alumna and civil rights attorney at the Department of Education Zandra Hall, '15, coached the team. This is the second year in a row that the client counseling team has won its regional and advanced to the nationals under Hall's coaching.

Additionally, two Mercer Law School teams advanced to the final four in other national competitions. The moot court team – composed of Anelise Codrington and Jasmine Oliver and coached by Associate Professor Monica Armstrong Roudil – finished among the top four teams at the Charleston Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition, and the mock trial team – composed of Aliayah Baaith, Will Platt, Jackson Turner and Sarah Young and coached by Robert Cabe, '14 – placed among the top four teams at the National Ethics Trial Competition. Baaith was named co-winner of the Top Advocate Award at the National Ethics Trial Competition.