NNALSA Moot Court Wins Big

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

University of Tulsa College of Law NNALSA Mock Trial Teams Garner Awards at National Competition

A group of law students earned top awards this past weekend for their efforts in the National Native American Law Student Association (NNALSA) competition in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Two trial teams, consisting of Leslie Dubois-Need with Candice Freeman and Corey Rogers with Phillip Countryman, competed against thirty-two (32) other teams from across the nation.  The trial team of Corey Rogers and Phillip Countryman was recognized and congratulated for placing third in the competition.  Leslie Dubois-Need was recognized as the Best Oralist of the competition.  The students were accompanied by coach Shannon Prescott.

The students’ worked hard on writing and submitting briefs to the fact pattern written by a former TU LL.M alumnus, Angelique Eagle-Woman.  Angelique joined the law faculty at Hamline as an Assistant Professor in August 2006.  The fact pattern involved a land claim of the fictional Makota Nation and the United States Government.  It involved principles of Indian Law, international legal  principles, contract and property law.

The briefs were submitted on January 5, 2007, and the students began a rigorous course of practice and study with their coaches, Brenda Christie-Lichtenegger and Shannon Prescott, both Staff Attorneys with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Legal Program at the University of Tulsa’s Boesche Legal Clinic and TU Law alumni.  With only forty-five (45) days until the competition, many nights and weekends were sacrificed.

The students and coaches were assisted by numerous TU faculty and alumni, namely: Professors Kathy Supernaw, Judith Royster, Bill Rice, Melissa Tatum, Stacy Leeds, alumnus and local attorneys Jenny Ebersole and Matt Hall, and an LL.M Student, Miranda Bailey.  They wish to thank everyone who helped and a special thanks to Chris Farwell for helping with the video taping!

The students braved the snow and ice storms of January and February to prepare for the competition. At least this put them in the right frame of mind when they arrived in Minnesota to below freezing weather on Thursday.  Later that day, they used a little of their spare time to visit the Mall of America and ride the roller-coaster!  The rest of the evening was used for final practice and collecting their thoughts for the competition.

The TU trial teams competed with thirty-two (32) teams from other law schools across the nation.  A total of fifty-four (54) teams were entered, but due to the snow and ice, several teams from the East coast could not attend.  Both of TU’s teams advanced through the first two (2) round of competition.   The “Best Oralist” award was decided upon these rounds of competition.  The teams attended a dinner on Friday evening and learned that both teams made the Sweet Sixteen, making them eligible to compete on Saturday.

On Saturday, the teams squared off and the TU team of Rogers and Countryman made the Elite Eight.  In pleading their case for the fictional Makota Nation, Mr. Countryman was lauded for his story-telling ability and both competitors were complimented on their passionate arguments.  The Final Four was announced and the TU team competed again, this time arguing for the United States Government.  The top two were announced and sadly, TU was not among the names read. 

The awards dinner followed Saturday night.  Upon hearing their names for third place overall, the TU table erupted in cheers for Corey Rogers and Phillip Countryman.  This was quickly followed by the announcement of Leslie Dubois-Need as Best Oralist and the group was elated.  Coach Shannon Prescott noted that “she knew any one of our competitors could win” and was very happy for all the TU winners!  The first place team was from the University of Hawaii and the second place team, which upset the TU team, was from Arizona.

These wins continue the winning streak that TU has had in conjunction with the NNALSA competition.  Past winners include: Leslie Dubois and Candice Freeman who placed Third last year,  Amanda Proctor, Corrine O’Day, Stacy Leeds, Kenneth Factor and Cheryl Lynn Bisbee.  The College of Law has several moot court programs and has had winning teams in the National Health Law Competition, the American Bar Association Negotiation Regional Competition, and the National Trial Competition Regional.