Wayne State University

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Environmental moot court team shines in competition

April 12, 2013

The three students — Robert Johns, Jessica Wayne and Kenneth Cox — on Wayne Law’s environmental moot court team have completely different backgrounds, but together, they mesh into an award-winning unit.

The team recently competed at Pace Law School in New York and won the award for Best Brief – Intervenor Appellant. The team also advanced through oral arguments to the quarterfinals of the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, which was held in February..

Johns, who serves as team captain, earned a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering at Purdue University. Wayne earned her bachelor’s at Michigan State University in international relations with a specialization in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. And Cox earned his bachelor’s in English with a focus on film studies.

The three teammates put in countless hours researching, writing and editing their award-winning brief and practicing their oral arguments.

“I can remember spending 32 hours with the team in one of the final weekends,” Johns said. “For the oral arguments portion, we probably practiced or otherwise honed our arguments 15 hours per week since the start of this semester.”

Their dedication and talent paid off, and Professor Nicholas Schroeck, who works with the team, is impressed.

“Our team did exceptionally well,” he said, calling the best brief award “a huge honor, being that about 30 teams wrote their brief for that side.”

The 72 teams involved could choose one of three parties to represent for the competition’s fictional lawsuit — plaintiff-appellant, intervenor-appellant or defendant-appellee.

“The plaintiff was an environmental citizen group who sued a farmer for illegally clearing wetlands,” Johns said. “The intervenor-appellant was the state environmental agency. The competition takes place at the federal appeals court level.”

  All three students are interested in environmental law and want to work someday in Michigan. Johns and Cox hope to work in an environmental law field after graduation, while Wayne plans to seek a job in international business. Johns, originally from Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham and now a Detroit resident, is in his third year of law school, and Cox and Wayne are in their second year. Cox lives in Lincoln Park and Wayne is a Novi resident.

Photo caption: Wayne State University Law School’s team members — Captain Robert Johns (left), Jessica Wayne and Kenneth Cox — hold their award for Best Brief – Intervenor –Appellant earned during National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition held last month at Pace Law School in New York. The team advanced through oral arguments to quarter-finals, also held last month at Pace.