Third-year student Samantha Barrett and 3L Mara Poulsen took top honors in the Regional Round of the National Moot Court Competition in Baltimore, MD this past November. The National Moot Court Competition is an annual inter-law school event designed to promote the art of appellate advocacy. 

Facing off against teams from the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Drexel University, George Washington University and Penn State University, among others, Barrett called it “one of the most memorable moments of my law school journey.” 

“Having the opportunity to hone my craft and argue an appellate case before a panel of judges ignited a passion and solidified my desire to pursue a legal career in appellate litigation,” said Barrett, who was named Best Oralist of the competition.  

Co-sponsored by the New York City Bar Association and the American College of Trial Lawyers, the competition includes up to 191 teams from 124 law schools. Best Oralist, one of the top honors of the competition, is awarded to an individual who best articulates the logical structure for an argument while moving swiftly to the legal issues. 

Barrett said it all came down to preparation.  

“I confess the preparation was, at times, intense and a balancing act with my academics and leadership positions,” Barrett said. “However, I am beyond elated that my teammate and I will have the privilege of competing against law schools from all over the country at the national competition.”  

Poulsen gave kudos to Practice Professor of Law, Mary E. Levy, who she said, “encouraged us, supported us, and was always available with advice and assistance.” Poulsen added that the team’s success was due to the training and experience provided by Professors Jules Epstein, Susan DeJarnatt, Omeed Firouzi, and Marian Braccia and from “well-taught” substantive classes, particularly Constitutional Law with Laura Little, Federal Courts with Dennis Morrow, and Administrative Law with Craig Green. 

She added that interning with Judge Krause on the Third Circuit and seeing how “real appellate action goes” was invaluable.  

“In all the rounds, I saw practiced opponents struggle to answer questions they had not anticipated,” Poulson said. “It is great to be practiced, but it is better to know the law.” 

The opportunity to compete for the national title came after Barrett and Poulsen faced off against fellow third-year Temple Law teammates in the semi-finals.  

“Unfortunately, our two teams faced each other in the semi-final round,” Prof. Levy said. “Which handed Catherine (Plante) and Jesse (Bernstein) their only loss in the competition.”  

Plante called the competition “fun” and “rewarding” and said she was more than proud to cheer her teammates on.  

“When Mara and Samantha were in the finals, Jesse and I sat behind them smiling, watching them crush it,” Plante said. “When they were announced the winners, all four of us were overjoyed and celebrating. It was just a great time, and a huge win for Temple.”