KU News Release

Jan. 21, 2011
Contact: Mindie Paget, School of Law, (785) 864-9205

Moot court team sweeps regionals to win spot in national competition

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LAWRENCE — A moot court team from the University of Kansas School of Law will compete in the national rounds of the National Moot Court Competition next week after sweeping the regional contest.

Lindsay Grise and Evan North will be in New York City from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3 to represent KU in the oldest and largest competition of its kind. They earned their spot during the Region IX competition Nov. 19-20 in Kansas City, Mo.

Grise and North defeated teams from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, Washburn University School of Law, University of Nebraska School of Law and Saint Louis University School of Law. The final round judges — Duane Benton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, James Smart from the Missouri Court of Appeals and Melissa Taylor Standridge from the Kansas Court of Appeals — complimented the team on an outstanding performance and awarded North top oral advocate honors.

The students won the right to compete in Kansas City after emerging as the top team in the law school’s in-house Moot Court Competition last spring. The competition requires second-year students to analyze legal issues similar to those currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. Students must write a brief and make an oral argument as if they were appearing before the court. The argument involves intense questioning from a panel of judges.

“For some reason, I get more nervous volunteering in class than I do walking up to a podium in front of three judges,” North said. “I think it’s because we go in prepared for every possible line of questioning, so it’s exciting to hear a question and know exactly how I’m going to respond.”

North and Grise spent long hours in the weeks leading up to regionals preparing in practice rounds before fellow students, law faculty and attorneys. Kansas Supreme Court Justice Nancy Caplinger even judged one of their practice sessions. The team is preparing just as intensely for nationals.

Regardless of how they finish in the competition, North and Grise said the experience has been invaluable.

“The moot court experience has highlighted to me what advocacy is all about — that simply having the right answer is not enough,” Grise said. “The presentation of the answer is equally important. Being understood by an audience and connecting with their common sensibilities is always the winning strategy.”

North said he couldn’t have imagined a year ago defending a case to three judges peppering him with questions.

“Now I feel at ease doing it,” he said. “But even if it’s a few years before I get to argue an appeal orally, the brief-writing experience will pay off immediately. I think legal employers value every last bit of legal writing practice you can get in school.”

After graduation, Grise will join the Kansas City, Mo., office of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, and North will clerk for Chief Judge Mary Beck Briscoe of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

About 150 law schools participate and only about 25 teams make it to the finals each year in the National Moot Court Competition, co-sponsored by the Young Lawyers Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the American College of Trial Lawyers. The competition encourages the art of appellate advocacy among law students.

KU teams have historically performed well in the national competition, reaching the quarterfinals twice in the past decade and placing first in the nation twice.

From Lenexa 66215
Evan North, a third-year law student, graduated from Shawnee Mission Northwest High School. He earned a bachelor’s in journalism and political science from Northwestern University and a master’s in education from Pace University. He is the son of Ken and Janet North.

From Olathe 66062
Lindsay Grise, a third-year law student, graduated from Olathe South High School. She earned a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from KU. She is the daughter of Richard and Joan Robbins and the wife of Matthew Grise.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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