Law students’ written brief receives 10th place at national competition

Law students' written brief receives 10th place at national competition
Two second-year law students, Rebecca Mann and Brandon Taliaferro, from The University of South Dakota School of Law competed as a team at the 57th Annual National Moot Court Competition in New York City Jan. 29-Feb. 4. The students went 2-0 against law schools, Temple and Hastings, advancing to the "sweet sixteen." Mann and Taliaferro's written brief earned 10th-place honors in the prestigious tournament.

Mann is from Spearfish, and earned a bachelor of business administration at Black Hills State University. Taliaferro is from Oxford, Ms., and earned a bachelor of business administration degree at the University of Mississippi. Moot Court advisors, Law Professor Jonathan Van Patten and Business Professor Gregory Huckabee and Jill Tyler, an instructor in the Communications Studies Department, assisted the students in preparing for the tournament.

The Moot Court program at the U's School of Law is dedicated to developing the legal skill of appellate advocacy. Competing in moot court tournaments provides unique opportunities for law students to refine their skills in appellate brief writing and oral advocacy.


Law firm Woods, Fuller, Schultz and Smith of Sioux Falls, a long-time supporter of the competitive Moot Court program at the U, donated support to help defray the expenses of sending the team to the national finals in New York. In addition to assisting with travel, the firm's support has helped the Moot Court program offer a brief-writing workshop that was conducted last summer by Van Patten.

Since 1950, the New York City Bar and the American College of Trial Lawyers have sponsored the National Moot Court Competition. Every year, more than 150 law schools compete in the regional rounds throughout the U.S., and the winners advance to the final rounds held at the New York City Bar. This nationally-recognized competition allows law students to hone their appellate advocacy skills by arguing before prominent members of our profession.

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