Thursday, October 20, 2011

College of Law Moot Court Team Places Second in National Competition

A team of law students from Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law went undefeated in the E. Earle Zehmer Worker’s Compensation National Moot Court Competition’s preliminary and semifinal rounds, and finished the competition in second place.  The team argued against Florida Coastal before a panel from the Florida First District Court of Appeals. The team was composed of third-year law students Clifton Dortch and Tayo Popoola, and was among 14 teams participating in the competition held in Orlando, Fla. The team was coached by Associate Professor William Henslee and College of Law alumna Elizabeth Henslee.

The E. Earle Zehmer Worker’s Compensation National Moot Court Competition is widely known for its complex issues and concepts designed to immerse the student in worker’s compensation law.  Schools represented at the competition included Stetson University College of Law, Florida Coastal School of Law and the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

“I’m glad we competed as well as we did,” said Dortch, who also serves as chair of the College of Law Advocacy Board.  “This was definitely another step in the right direction. We’re progressing; however, we need to continue to the point where we are winning entire competitions.”

Although finishing second place in a national moot court competition is an enormous achievement, both Dortch and Popoola are no strangers to success in moot court competitions. Dortch received the award for Second Best Oral Advocate in the 2010 Appellate Lawyers Association Moot Court Competition, and Popoola was a finalist in the 2009 Navy JAG (Judge Advocate General) National Moot Court Competition.

Second-year law student M. Taylor Tremel and third-year law student Joan Matthews also represented FAMU at the E. Earle Zehmer Worker’s Compensation National Moot Court Competition.

The team, along with its coaches, thanked attorneys J. Michael Matthews, Shawn Diederich, Morgan Indek, D. Paul McCaskill, Monte Shoemaker and Associate Professor Nicky Boothe-Perry for their assistance.

The FAMU College of Law was founded in 1949 on the main campus in Tallahassee.  After graduating 57 lawyers, the law school was closed by the state of Florida in 1968. The Florida Legislature voted to reopen the law school in 2000 and Orlando was selected as the location. The re-established FAMU College of Law opened its doors in 2002 and is now housed in a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Orlando’s Parramore neighborhood.  The FAMU College of Law received full accreditation from the American Bar Association in July 2009, and has consistently been ranked in the top five for Diversity by U.S. News & World Report since 2007 -- achieving the top rank on three occasions.

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