St. Thomas Law Moot Court Team Wins Best Brief Award at Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition

Eneami Bestman, Joanne Dautruche, and Domingo Lopez (coach) represented St. Thomas Law in the Regionals of the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition held in Jacksonville, Florida from February 12 to 16, 2014.

The Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition (FDMCC) is one of the cornerstones of National Black Law Student Association’s programming. Since its inception in 1975, the FDMCC has consistently provided NBLSA members with excellent training in appellate advocacy through oral argument and brief writing. The FDMCC seeks to provide NBLSA members the opportunity to hone their appellate advocacy skills in an atmosphere of zealous competition and spirited camaraderie. Each year, between 100 and 125 teams compete across the nation within the six Regional Competitions, culminating in the top three teams from each region competing at the national level during NBLSA's Annual Convention.

The St. Thomas Law team won the Best Brief Award and finished in the top eight.  All three students are 2L's students which makes their success even more impressive.

Eneami Bestman said “Representing St. Thomas Law in the Southern Regional Black Law Student Association Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition has been the highlight of my law school career.  Preparing for the competition was a lot of hard work, but I am blessed to have had my efforts rewarded by winning the Best Petitioner’s Brief award and finishing in the top eight.”

When Joanne Dautruche spoke about her experience she said “The real ‘win’ for me is the enriching experience, professionally and personally, along the journey.  The moot court competition taught me how the skills of issue-spotting and case analysis become applicable, and vital, in the practice of law.  St. Thomas professors do an excellent job at teaching us how to be strong writers and substantively prepared for the courtroom.  However, the art of actively listening and being fluid enough to think on your feet and adapt to the circumstances are valuable lessons that expand beyond the classroom.”

Team members offered a special thanks to Professor Stephen Plass, who served as their faculty coach; Professor Howard Blumberg, who directs our Moot Court efforts;  Keila Weekes, who served as alumna coach; and the members of the Moot Court Executive Board for all the time they put in to help our students succeed.  Keila's hard work coaching the team is yet another example of how our former students continue to help our Moot Court program after they graduate.