February 16, 2016
For the fourth time in school history, the advocacy team from the Texas Tech University School of Law has won the title at the 66th Annual National Moot Court Competition hosted by the New York City Bar Association.
Facing off against teams from other law schools from across the country, the Texas Tech team of third-year law students C.J. Baker from Belen, New Mexico; Shelby Hall from Ovilla; and Kristen Vander-Plas from Lubbock reached the finals to face a team from the Georgetown University Law Center late Friday.
“This was a huge win for our program,” said Robert Sherwin, an assistant professor of law and the director of the law school’s advocacy programs. “After back-to-back championships at this competition in 2011 and 2012 and a heartbreaking loss in the semifinals in 2014, it means so much to get back to the top of the mountain. C.J., Shelby and Kristen made it their goal at the outset of the year to take this crown, and they worked incredibly hard to make it happen.”
The competition has been held each year since 1950 and is considered the oldest and, by some, the most prestigious moot court competition in the country. This marks the third time in the last six years Texas Tech has won the competition and the 37th advocacy championship in the history of the Texas Tech School of Law.
The competition promotes the appellate advocacy process through intellectual rigor, legal research and persuasive argument and allows laws students to perfect their skills before becoming lawyers upon graduation.
“This competition was difficult and, because of its history, quite prestigious, but it was such an honor to represent Texas Tech Law in New York,” Vander-Plas said. “I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to compete on this team. Every round was really the definition of a team effort, with great coaching from professor Sherwin, C.J. and I arguing orally and Shelby’s brief picking up the slack and often carrying the day – even in the final round. Ultimately it all came together and we were able to bring it home.”
In addition to the overall championship, Hall was honored as having the top legal brief in the competition.
“I think what made this competition so special was that it was a total team effort,” Hall said. “It took all three of us working hard since last September to make this win happen, and I am so happy to be a part of such a great team.”
The Texas Tech School of Law is a leader among Texas law schools with a 16-year average pass rate of 90 percent on the State Bar Exam.
A small student body, a diverse faculty and a low student-faculty ratio (15.3:1) promotes learning and encourages interaction between students and professors.