William Grimm, Professor Becky da Cruz and LaRon Dunham

Armstrong Team Takes Top Spot in National Moot Court Tournament

(January 24, 2011) A Moot Court team from Armstrong Atlantic State University captured first place during the American Collegiate Moot Court Association's National Tournament hosted by Tulane University Law School in January.

The Armstrong team of LaRon Dunham and William Grimm won first place in the written competition, beating out 19 other collegiate teams from across the country. Armstrong fielded three teams during the event.

Dunham, a junior from Pooler, Georgia, majoring in Law and Society, and Grimm, a senior from Savannah studying political science, submitted an appellate brief for the petitioners in the fictional tournament case addressing same-sex marriage and the newly enacted health care law.

The brief is a written argument reflecting the issues of the case problem to be decided by the Court during oral argument. The briefs submitted in competition follow the U.S. Supreme Court rules governing format and utilized the precedent cases in the case problem. Judging is based on originality and creativity; the focus on relevant legal issues; use of supporting cases; and other authorities such as the health care law, effectiveness in addressing contrary arguments, clarity and organization, and overall writing style and appearance.

Dunham and Grimm placed among the top sixteen teams in regional competition at the University of Tampa in November, leading up to the finals at Tulane. Armstrong fielded three teams in Tampa, where Phil Parham, a senior who is also from Pooler, Georgia, placed eighth as an orator, out of 56 competitors.

Becky da Cruz, Armstrong assistant professor of criminal justice, coached the four teams representing Armstrong in the tournaments. She teaches a Moot Court class to prepare students for both oral arguments and written briefs pertaining to constitutional issues in a new case problem each year.

Contributing to student success in the competitions were Chuck Roessing, a Pennsylvania attorney; Amy Lee Copeland, a Savannah attorney; and Bill Daugherty, Armstrong professor of political science. HunterMaclean sponsors the Armstrong Moot Court program, making it possible for students to compete regionally and nationally.

In 2007, Armstrong seniors Brian Dotson and Adam Morrison defeated 63 teams to bring home the American Collegiate Moot Court Association National Championship. It was the first time that a University System of Georgia school had accomplished the feat.