Thursday, September 2, 1999

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

CONTACT: Bill Weber, (706) 542-2739, weber@arches.uga.edu


ATHENS, Ga. -- Two third-year law students will square off against future British barristers in a hypothetical courtroom drama Monday, September 13. The students, Glianny Fagundo and Matt Freeman, will duel with the Brits in a moot court debate over sovereign immunity, to be held at 3:30 p.m. in the law school's Hatton Lovejoy Courtroom.

The friendly competition marks the ninth exchange between UGA and Gray's Inn of London since 1983. Teams from the two institutions compete every other year, and in alternating years, the law school participates in a moot court exchange with King's Inns of Dublin, Ireland. The purpose is to promote law students' knowledge of other cultures and legal systems.

"The benefits of this exchange for our law students are significant," said Bill Weber, the law school's director of advocacy. "With the increasing globalization of the practice of law, friendships forged during these exchanges can mature into professional relationships in the future. There are also more immediate benefits: the British style of legal argument is often very different from our own, and the rigors of this competition help our students grow as advocates."

This year's hypothetical case concerns a union labor leader suing the state for damages because he claims the post traumatic stress disorder he has developed was caused by police abuse following his arrest at an organized company protest.

Gray's Inn, one of the famed British Inns of Court, is a prestigious training ground for barristers. Under the English system of legal education, students major in law as undergraduates, then become bar students at one of the Inns of Court. Those who pass the bar examination after a year of study become interns with barristers, the British version of trial lawyers.

The four British students who visit Georgia will enjoy a Buckhead dinner and tour of Atlanta as well as a kayaking trip down the Broad River just north of Athens. The students are accompanied by His Honor Esyr Lewis. In the spring, several members of the UGA moot court team will travel to England to complete the exchange. The law school's participation in the Gray's Inn Exchange Program is financed in part by the William Carroll Brown Fund.