Wednesday, March 26, 1997

WRITER: Kathy R. Pharr, (706) 542-5172

CONTACT: Richard Ford, (706) 542-5123


ATHENS, Ga. -- The University of Georgia School of Law closed out its regular moot court season with two impressive victories in the American Bar Association Regional Competition and the National First Amendment Moot Court Competition held at Vanderbilt University. By virtue of its regional ABA title, UGA will advance to the national finals in Austin, Texas in August.

"The ABA and Vanderbilt victories are an exclamation mark on one of the most successful seasons in the history of the moot court program," said Richard Ford, moot court advisor. "Our moot court students are talented and dedicated, and the successes of our teams have carried over from competition to competition. Our teams have been exemplary representatives of the law school and the University."

Teams from 30 premier law schools competed in the invitation-only tournament at Vanderbilt. The UGA team, making its first appearance in the competition, posted a perfect 7-0 record with victories over four teams in the preliminary rounds, Brooklyn in the quarterfinals, Emory in the semifinals, and South Texas in the finals.

The law school was represented by third-year student Jessica Heywood and second-year students Tanya Stewart and Marie Bruce. Third-year student Rod Tanner served as their coach. A panel of two justices of the Tennessee Supreme Court and five members of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals presided over the final round in the competition. Team members argued a hypothetical case concerning the constitutionality of tuition vouchers.

UGA's regional ABA championship team was also undefeated with victories over Cumberland, Toledo and Maryland in the preliminary rounds, and Creighton and SMU in the elimination rounds. A second UGA team posted wins over Toledo, South Carolina, and Campbell before losing a close match in the elimination rounds.UGA's championship ABA team was comprised of second-year students Stephen Marsh, Ranse Partin, and Preston Smith; third-year student Tonnyé White served as their coach. Second-year students Patrick Conner, Brandon Lewis, and Robb Howell comprised the second team, with third-year student Brad Grout serving as coach.

In addition to the regional championship, UGA students also earned individual honors for their advocacy skills: Lewis was named Best Oralist; Marsh - Second Best Oralist; and Conner - Eighth Best Oralist.

Thirty-five teams from schools ranging from Maryland to Texas competed in the regional ABA tournament.

These two most recent victories cap a sterling season of accomplishment for the law school's moot court program: a 40-10 overall record with five championships, including the most coveted title of all -- the National Moot Court Competition championship in January.