Law’s Moot Court Team Competes on National Stage

May 2, 2023 | News, UToday, Alumni, Law
By Shared Editor Account

Moot Court at Toledo Law, instructed by Professor Geoffrey Rapp and Professor Krysten Beech, challenges students to display their legal research, writing, and oral advocacy skills in a competition setting.

Students travel all over the country to compete against other schools. Each team argues on behalf of their fictional client using a fact pattern tailored to participants’ specific interests.

UToledo students Wesley Henkel and Joseph Stefanko

UToledo students Wesley Henkel and Joseph Stefanko placed third out of 28 teams in a two-day Moot Court tournament in Las Vegas.

Every competition focuses on the most interesting issues relevant to a chosen area of law.

Throughout March and early April, Moot Court sent five teams to different cities around the country to compete in tournaments focused on five different areas of law:

•  Wesley Henkel and Joseph Stefanko – Las Vegas – gaming law;

•  Clif Porter and Hunter Wilde – New York City – labor law;

•  Katie Elliot and Tom Gillen – Buffalo – criminal law;

•  Patrick Milkie and Ally Zenda – Morgantown, West Virginia – environmental law; and,

•  Ed Hastings and Taylor Thomas – Columbus – family law.

The hypothetical cases were set in the United States Supreme Court and each team was assigned to take a side. Students prepared appellate briefs that they submitted in January to the fictional court. Participants then traveled to present the substance of their briefs as oral arguments in front of a panel of judges.

In Las Vegas, Wesley Henkel and Joseph Stefanko placed third out of 28 teams in a two-day tournament. They represented the fictional Petitioner in a hypothetical case based on the real-life Supreme Court case Ysleta del Sur Pueblo v. Texas (2022).

The fact pattern involved the federal prosecution of an alleged illegal virtual bingo game being run on Indian tribal lands.

Both students agreed that arguing a gaming law issue was challenging as it was a brand new, niche area of law and completely foreign to them prior to the competition.

“We both proved it to ourselves that Toledo can and will show up to these types of competitions prepared and ready to swing with the biggest and best law schools,” Stefanko said.

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