Two OU Law Teams Finish in Top 7 at Competition

November 8, 2013 | By Elise Puma, Juris Doctor Candidate 2015

OU Law kicked off the fall competition season at the National Health Law moot court competition held at the Southern Illinois University College of Law in Carbondale, Ill. on November 1 and 2. My 2L teammate Elizabeth Isaacs and I competed in the final round and placed second in the competition. Justin Hedges, 3L, and Rachel Sibila, 2L, placed seventh after advancing to the quarter finals. This is the first year OU Law has advanced to the final round of the National Health Law competition. We were coached by Professor Gail Mullins.

Before competing in oral arguments, Isaacs and I submitted an appellate brief that counted for 40 percent of our oral argument preliminary round scores. Isaacs argued in her brief that a hospital was entitled to statutory immunity for its peer review of a surgeon whose privileges were suspended after he posted a controversial comment about vaccines and autism on a social media website. I argued that the surgeon’s post was not protected speech under the First Amendment. Hedges and Sibila submitted a brief arguing that the hospital peer review committee was not entitled to statutory immunity because it revoked the surgeon’s privileges in retaliation for the post, which should have been protected speech under the First Amendment.

After submitting our brief on September 26, we began practicing our oral arguments to a mock Supreme Court with fellow teammates Hedges and Sibila. Practice judges included professors, practicing attorneys, judicial clerks, and OU Jurist in Residence, Judge Wayne Alley.

At competition, each of the 29 teams from around the country argued twice in the preliminary rounds. Sixteen teams then broke to the elimination rounds. Isaacs and I had the opportunity to compete against Seton Hall in the final round of the competition. Our judges included in Chief Judge Julio Fuentes of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, along with a federal district judge, a practicing physician-attorney, and the law professor who wrote the competition problem.

While we lost the final round, placing as national runner up was a tremendous honor. Competing was not only an invaluable learning process that has better prepared me for a litigation career, but it was a lot of fun. The opportunity to represent OU Law on a national stage to defend our law school’s ranking as a Top 20 moot court competition program was a privilege.

Each year students from OU Law compete in various regional and national moot court, mock trial, arbitration, negotiation, and mediation competitions. These competitions are invaluable to students, as we hone important legal practice skills. Competitions are also an opportunity to represent OU Law on a national level. The next moot court team leaves for regional competition in just a few days and many more teams will compete throughout the year, so keep your support coming for these hard-working students and coaches. Boomer Sooner! 

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