Thursday, March 8, 2001

WRITER: Kathy R. Pharr, (706) 542-5172, pharr@arches.uga.edu

CONTACT: Kellie Casey, (706) 542-2739


ATHENS, Ga. -- For the fourth time this season, the University of Georgia School of Law's advocacy program has advanced its teams to the final rounds of prestigious national tournaments by capturing the championships in regional competitions. The law school has now secured a berth in the national rounds of two competitions: the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) Tournament, to be held in New Orleans March 22 - 25; and the American Bar Association (ABA) National Appellate Advocacy Competition, to be held in Chicago March 29 - 31.

Just two weeks ago, the UGA moot court program secured a bid to the elite finals of the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in Washington, D.C. April 1 - 7. Earlier this season, a team competed in the national finals of the prestigious National Moot Court Competition in New York City.

The law school's ATLA team was the only undefeated team among competitors in the northeast regional tournament held March 1 - 4 in Providence, Rhode Island. In fact, the UGA team never lost the vote of a single judge en route to winning the title. Team members included third-year students Mark Mitchell and Michele Harris and second-year students Ryan Reavis and Shalena Cook. Second-year student Caroline Rogers served as their student coach. The team acted as both attorneys and witnesses in a trial setting, arguing a hypothetical civil suit brought by a mother against state-employed paramedics for failing to diagnose and transport her 16-year-old son, who later died.

UGA sent two teams to the ABA regional tournament in Atlanta, and both teams were undefeated entering the final round, which consisted of the top eight teams from a field of approximately 30 competitors. The four winners of these arguments advance to the national finals. The judges awarded the championship to the UGA team of second-year law students Drew Baiter, Lauren Sheridan and Tiffany Rowe, who will now compete in the national competition at the end of the month. The UGA team of second-year students Mary Paige Tucker, David Adams and Ali Sawyer were narrowly defeated in the final round in a split decision. Third-year students Sam Burch and Laura Hill coached the ABA teams, and Holly Pierson, an attorney with the Atlanta law firm of King & Spalding and a former moot court member at UGA, served as their advisor. In a moot court tournament, students argue the appeal of a hypothetical case before a panel of judges.

The University of Georgia School of Law won the ATLA national championship in 1997 and reached the semifinals of the ABA national appellate competition in 1999.

"We are enjoying a wonderful season of success for our moot court and mock trial programs," said David Shipley, UGA law school dean. "Their accomplishments demonstrate to a regional, national and international audience the high quality of our students and the superb training they receive. We are very proud of our students' efforts and the excellent leadership of Advocacy Director Kellie Casey. They deserve a big round of applause."

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