Second-year law students Kathleen LaForest of Ann Arbor and Kevin McQuillan of Toledo, Ohio, emerged as the champions of Wayne State University Law School’s recent 2012 Arthur Neef Moot Court Competition, which was judged by four Michigan Court of Appeals judges — Elizabeth Gleicher, Christopher Murray, Cynthia Stephens and Kirsten Frank Kelly.
The winning students’ opponents in the final round of competition were second-year students Jake Vorkapich of Canton and Jason Alvarado of Rochester Hills.
The annual competition starts with four in-house rounds with 18 teams of two participating. Eight of those teams advance to the quarterfinals, and four teams go on to semifinals before the field is honed to the final two teams.
Wayne Law’s Moot Court program began in 1938 as informal groups called “Case Clubs.” Club members prepared legal arguments and presented them before faculty members and practitioners to practice arguing against other law schools’ clubs. In 1949, the Case Club became an officially recognized student group at Wayne Law, and was renamed Moot Court. Since then, the group has evolved into a highly competitive program, which helps students hone their written and oral advocacy skills at the appellate level.
The students this year argued two issues, said Professor Amy Neville, faculty adviser for Moot Court.
“The first is whether the use of testimony from an anonymous witness violates the Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause,” Neville said. “The second issue involved whether Federal Rule of Evidence 701 permits a lay witness, who has no firsthand or contemporaneous knowledge of conversations, to offer ‘opinions’ about the speaker’s intended meaning of words used in those conversations.”
Neville has been an instructor of legal writing at Wayne Law since 1999. Prior to joining Wayne’s faculty, Neville worked for six years as an assistant defender at the State Appellate Defender Office handling appeals on behalf of indigents convicted of felony offenses in Michigan. She also previously worked at the Michigan Court of Appeals as a pre-hearing attorney. Neville graduated from Wayne Law in 1987, where she served as a member of WSU’s 1986-87 National Moot Court Team.
Photo caption: The four finalists in this year’s Arthur Neef Moot Court Competition are second-year students Jake Vorkapich (left) of Canton and Jason Alvarado of Rochester Hills, who argued for the petitioner; and winners Kathleen LaForest of Ann Arbor and Kevin McQuillan of Toledo, Ohio, who argued for the respondent.