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LSU Law wins third National Admiralty Moot Court Championship in four years

LSU Law’s team of Jessie Finley, Sara Kuebel, and Jacob Cunningham won the 2018 John R. Brown National Admiralty Law Moot Court Competition in Seattle on March 24. The national-championship-winning team also won the competition’s Maritime Law Association of the United States Award for the Best Brief.

Travel to this year’s competition was underwritten by a grant from the Houston Marine and Energy Insurance Conference.

Three men and two women wearing suits pose for a photo with a courtroom in the background

From left, LSU Law’s National Admiralty Law Moot Court Competition “Purple” team coach Dean Sutherland, Jessica Finley, Jacob Cunningham, Sara Kuebel, and coach Phillip Smith

With wins in 2015 and 2016, LSU Law has won three of the last four national championships at the Admiralty competition. LSU Law advanced to the semifinal round of the competition in 2017.

The Judge John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition is an interscholastic appellate moot court competition sponsored each year by The University of Texas School of Law. More than 30 teams from law schools across the country face off in the annual competition.

The Law Center’s John R. Brown National Admiralty Law Moot Court Competition team is coached by Adjunct Professor Dean Sutherland (LSU Law ’75) of Jeansonne & Remondet and Phillip Smith (LSU Law ’16) of NeunerPate.

“The Admiralty teams have continued their tradition of excellence by bringing home their third national title in four years. This year’s team members produced two practice-quality briefs on what was probably the most complex admiralty problem in recent years,” Professor and Moot Court/Trial Advocacy Director Jeff Brooks said. “Coaches Dean Sutherland and Phillip Smith then worked tirelessly with the students to get them championship-ready. They spent countless hours mooting the team and working through the problem’s difficult legal issues, and they also lined up an all-star array of LSU Law alumni specialists in maritime law and LSU Law faculty members for practice moots. Practice certainly makes perfect.”

The Law Center’s “Gold” team (students Josie Serigne, Clint Smith and Mary Kathryn Gimber) advanced to the Quarterfinals, and team member Josie Serigne was ranked as the 13th highest oral advocate overall at the competition.

This title marks the third national championship for LSU Law’s moot court and trial advocacy teams this academic year. LSU Law students Zach Miller and Max Roberts were crowned champions of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition’s North American regional rounds in Washington, D.C., also on March 24. Participating for the first time in the competition, the team also took home the award for Best New Team.

The LSU Law team advances to the World Championships of the Space Law Court Competition, which will be held in October 2018 in Bremen, Germany. LSU Law will face the winners of the European, Asian-Pacific and African rounds of the competition.

LSU Law won the Peter James Johnson National Civil Rights Trial Competition on Oct. 22 at St. John’s University School of Law in New York City. LSU Law also finished second at the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition at Pace University in White Plains, N.Y., on Feb. 24.

“I am incredibly proud of our students and their performances in these national competitions,” LSU Law Dean Tom Galligan said. “These competitions help develop our students’ skills as persuasive advocates, and the continued success of our advocacy teams shows that our students leave LSU Law prepared for legal practice.  Three national championships in one year is pretty special.”

Two male and four female students pose for a photo in a lobby

LSU Law’s Admiralty Purple and Gold teams of, from left, Clinton Smith, Jessica Finley, Sara Kuebel, Mary Kathryn Gimber, Jacob Cunningham, and Josie Serigne.

The LSU Law Center’s Advocacy Programs are one of the largest law student advocacy skills training programs in the United States. More than 150 students participate annually in six internal competitions, more than 25 traveling competition, a series of skills workshops and boot camps, and related simulation courses to develop their skills as persuasive advocates.