MISSOULA – A team of three University of Montana School of Law students competed in the final round at the Jeffrey G. Miller Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition held in White Plains, New York in February.
It is the largest interschool moot court competition of any kind under one roof, regularly drawing in excess of 200 competitors from diverse law schools across the country. The event attracts 200 attorneys who serve as judges for the three days of oral arguments.
UM students Katelyn Hepburn, Lindsey West and Hannah Cail competed against Vermont Law School and the University of Mississippi students. The University of Mississippi won for the fourth time in five years.
Sixty-two teams faced off in this year’s competition. The event tests skills in appellate-brief writing and oral advocacy, involving issues drawn from real cases, and providing first-hand experience in environmental litigation. Competitors research and analyze current and challenging legal environmental issues, write persuasive arguments advocating how the issues should be resolved, argue the issues orally and have their performances evaluated and critiqued by practicing attorneys.
In the preliminary rounds UM met Loyola, the University of South Dakota, Northeastern University, the University of Louisville, Louisiana State University and Widener. Katelyn Hepburn won the award for best oralist in the round against Northeastern and Louisville.
UM defeated the University of Indiana and Western New England University in the quarterfinal round, and eliminated the University of California, Berkeley and Barry University in the semifinal round.
“The dedication and hard work of this year’s team members earned them a well-deserved spot in the final round,” said Heidi Fanslow, team coach and UM School of Law adjunct professor. “We also acknowledge the critical role local attorneys play when judging practice sessions – without their help, our team would not have been as well prepared.”
UM also competed in the final round in 2005. In 2014, the team wrote the second-highest scoring brief in the competition. In 2002, a team member won the overall best-oralist award. The Environmental Law Moot Court Team has been coached by Fanslow since 2001.