Advocacy Teams Advance to National Finals

January 20, 2017

RMBLSA Jan2017 moot court winnersElan Moore and Lorraine Birabil, Moot Court competition winners

Texas A&M University School of Law’s Advocacy Program claimed a regional championship at the National Black Law Students Association (BLSA) Southwest Regional competition on Jan. 11-15, 2017 in New Orleans.

The team of 2L Lorraine Birabil and 3L Elan Moore, coached by Matthew Wright, Presiding Judge for the Municipal Court for the City of Rosebud, Texas, won the BLSA Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition. Not only was it the school’s first regional championship at this competition, it was Birabil’s and Moore’s first law school moot court competition.

RMBLSA Jan2017 Mock trial teamDoug Greene (coach), Ashu Balimba, Zo Onyeise, Amy Eades, Greg Franklin

In addition, the team of 3Ls Ashu Balima, Amy Eades, Gregory Franklin and Zo Onyeise, coached by Douglas Greene of Greene Law Firm in Arlington, placed second at the BLSA Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition.

Both teams have advanced to the national finals in Houston in March.

“This is a big accomplishment for our school to advance teams to the national finals in both moot court and mock trial,” said Jennifer Ellis, Director of Advocacy. “Our students demonstrated outstanding talent, professionalism and dedication. It takes a strong work ethic to practice over the break while other students are able to relax.”

Birabil said she is thankful Ellis connected both she and Moore with Wright. Birabil said Judge Wright, a 2008 graduate of Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, was dedicated to their success, driving more than an hour each way to help them practice, and providing helpful feedback throughout the process.

“Judge Wright did an amazing job preparing us for competition,” she said. “We were ready for the questions posed by the judges.”

“He videotaped our oral arguments, which were great to watch so that we could see our facial expressions and review our answers,” said Moore.

Birabil said that her fellow mock trial team members were also very supportive.

“Specifically, Aaron Cartwright provided information and guidance about advocacy and Greg Franklin encouraged me to give it a try,” she said.

While both students acknowledged that they are nervous about finals, Birabil said she is “more settled” than she was in earlier rounds.

Congrats and best of luck in Houston!

- Article by Jennifer Nassar, Communications Specialist, Texas A&M University School of Law