Best Brief in National Competition

A Georgia State University College of Law Intellectual Property Moot Court teams won best brief and placed fourth March 9 in the national 2014 Cardozo/BMI Entertainment and Communications Law Moot Court Competition in New York City at Cardozo Law School.

Team members Becki Lee (J.D. ’14) and Farhaan Merchant (J.D. ’15) competed in the 30th annual competition arguing a television copyright case, which was based on a pending Supreme Court case, ABC v. Aereo. They advanced past University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Wayne State University Law School, Florida A&M College of Law, Rutgers School of Law and Georgetown Law to compete in the semifinals against Seton Hall University School of Law. Seton Hall’s team won the competition.

“We prepared by researching and writing the brief for the first four weeks after the problem went public in January,” Lee says. “I had been following the case the problem was based, which was helpful. Once the brief was turned in, we chose our issues for oral arguments and started practicing three to four times per week. The snow cut into our schedule a little, but we had about three and a half weeks of practices.”

The hard work paid off for Lee and Merchant. “We worked really hard to get the brief out, and one team even told us that they used our brief instead of their own to prep for oral arguments,” Merchant says. “Making it to the semifinals was amazing. The brief scores help you in the preliminary rounds, but after that you are judged solely on oral arguments. It was great to see our hard work pay off.”

To prepare for oral arguments, the team relied on its coaches Anna Holcombe (J.D. ’14) and Kyle Jackson (J.D. ’15), other Moot Court members, local attorneys and professors, who benched their practice rounds and provided constructive feedback.

“We had so much great help from our fellow students and a few practitioners who offered us advice,” Lee says. “Anna and Kyle were at every on-campus practice round and helped us shape our arguments. Also, the Intellectual Property Advisory Board helped raise funds to send us to the competition. They are the reason we got to go to Cardozo in the first place.”

Assistance from assistant professor of law Yaniv Heled and professor of law Michael Landau also was invaluable, Merchant says.

“The judges at the competition were just as rapid-fire and detail oriented about the law and its implications as professors Heled and Landau,” he says. “Having that experience was a tremendous help.”

Both Lee and Merchant agree the competition and Moot Court in general has helped further develop their legal skills.

“Moot Court has been a great way to learn to think quickly and be prepared for anything. When you can stand in front of a panel of judges who are trying to throw you off balance for 15 minutes and keep your cool, public speaking gets less and less frightening,” Lee says. “I’m glad that we were able to put Georgia State Law on the map at such a well-known intellectual property competition.”


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