LAWRENCE – A University of Kansas School of Law team brought home second place after rising to compete in the final round of the 2017 National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition.
KU law students Megan Carroll, of Wichita, and Bill Madden, of Topeka, placed second in the NNALSA competition held March 4-5 at the University of California-Los Angeles. Carroll also won the award for second-best oral advocate out of 128 competitors. Two additional KU teams competed at the event, including Will Easley, of Overland Park, and Nikki Marcotte, of Manhattan, as well as Nick Hayes, of Lawrence, and Ben Stringer, of Jacksonville, Florida.
This is the third year in a row a KU team has advanced to the finals of the NNALSA competition, capturing the national title in 2016 and placing second in 2015. The competition tests students’ knowledge of Indian law by evaluating their legal writing and oral advocacy skills. Students submit written briefs and participate in a simulated courtroom experience.
“There were 64 teams at this year’s competition, making these accomplishments truly impressive,” said Professor Elizabeth Kronk Warner, team coach and director of KU’s Tribal Law & Government Center. “Megan and Bill did an exceptionally good job, and several judges and spectators remarked that they were some of the finest advocates they had ever seen.”
Teams prepared for the competition by researching and preparing their written briefs, participating in practice rounds and receiving feedback from faculty judges and teammates.
“This was an amazing experience from start to finish,” Carroll said. “Throughout the practice period, my confidence often wavered. However, at the beginning of the second day of arguments, Professor Kronk Warner told me that she had no doubt in my abilities, she was already proud of all of us, and to go have fun in the rounds. I could not imagine having a better coach at the competition.”
Jason Harmon, a 2015 KU law graduate who participated in the NNALSA competition as a student, helped Kronk Warner coach the teams, and more than a dozen faculty and staff judged practice rounds. “I’m lucky to attend a university where the faculty are so personally invested in the success of their students,” Madden said. “The NNALSA tournament was a fantastic experience, and I’m proud to have had the opportunity to represent our school.”
“Given the presence of several federally recognized tribes in Kansas, participating in this competition is a wonderful opportunity for our students,” Kronk Warner said. “Students learn and improve upon their legal research, writing and oral advocacy skills while learning federal Indian law, which is so crucial to this region.”
With more than 60 teams, this year’s competition was one of the largest moot court competitions in the country. Carroll and Madden defeated two teams from Columbia University in New York City and another from Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, in the advanced rounds. The final rounds were judged by accomplished Indian law scholars and judges.