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Video: Law students excel at National Animal Law Competitions

February 13, 2009

Four Lewis & Clark Law School students advanced to the final round at the 6th annual National Animal Law Competitions at Harvard Law School this month.

“Our moot court teams performed magnificently against tough competitors, and we are equally proud of our closing argument competitors,” said Pamela Frasch, executive director of the Center for Animal Law Studies. “Judges went out of their way to commended our students for being so well-prepared and articulate.”

Bryan Telegin and Carey Whitehead advanced to the final round of the Appellate Moot Court Competition and won the prize for Best Respondent Brief.

Annmarie Robustelli advanced to become one of only four finalists in the Closing Argument Competition.

“Our coaches, Kathy Hessler and Pamela Frasch, spent an enormous amount of time helping us develop our arguments and understand the finer points of the problem,” Telegin said. “As well, many Lewis & Clark faculty and staff volunteered to coach our rounds and pushed us very hard. I am willing to bet that no other team had as much community-wide involvement leading up to the competition.”

In preparing for the competition, students must have a thorough understanding of the law and the ability to articulate the long-term ramifications of applying a particular ruling.
They also learn different techniques of persuasion than those used when arguing to a jury. While a jury may be persuaded by passion and may ignore the law altogether, an appellate tribunal is primarily motivated by factors such as policy considerations and strong legal precedent.

“The competition gave me an incredible opportunity to enhance my advocacy skills,” Robustelli said. “Not only did I gain a deeper understanding of the law and the judicial process, but the feedback I received from the judges was invaluable.”

In 2008, Lewis & Clark took the championship in the National Center for Animal Law’s National Animal Advocacy Moot Court Competition. Erin Smith and Lauren Goldberg won the competition, with Smith receiving the Best Oralist award. PEAC clinical professor Allison LaPlante served as lead coach for the animal law moot court teams.

In this video, Kathy Hessler, director and clinical professor of the Animal Law Clinic, discusses the ways Lewis & Clark students prepared for this year’s National Animal Law Competition.

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Vanessa Fawbush
Communications Officer
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