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The University of Kentucky College of Law recently honored the hard work and dedication of the officers, members, advisors, and coaches of the Moot Court Board and Trial Advocacy Board (TAB), as well as many first-year students in connection with their Legal Research and Writing (LRW) Clubs.  The Litigation Banquet recognizes the students who have excelled in both written and oral advocacy.

The Wyatt, Tarrant and Combs Professor of Law and Moot Court Board coach Paul Salamanca acknowledged the importance of the banquet, “The students that work so hard, along with faculty like Professor Connelly and the legal writing and research professors that prepare the students, should be recognized for their long hours of hard work.”

The message delivered by guest speaker Justin S. Peterson, a 2008 graduate of UK Law, was loud and clear – Moot Court, TAB and the LRW Clubs provide law students with the opportunity to learn and practice the skills necessary to excel in the legal profession.  Mr. Peterson strongly encouraged the 1L students in attendance to try out for Moot Court Board and TAB, sharing personal stories of how his involvement with TAB during law school has benefited him throughout his legal career.  Moot Court Board President Hannah Jamison is well aware of the outcomes that are the direct result of her hard work and involvement in the organization.  She explained, “Moot Court prepared me for my law career by strengthening my research, writing, and oral argument skills.”

Upon entering law school, TAB Vice President Chapin Fausel was excited to get involved, “I started mock trial in high school and came to UK ready to hit the ground running. I was so anxious to get started with TAB that I went to Professor Connelly's office my 1L year in the fall and asked her if I could break the school rules and try out as a 1L. Sadly, she told me no, but I was excited to compete in the 1L competition, and more excited about the 2L competition.”  She did still find a way to be involved as a 1L, serving as a witness for upper-level students who tried out for the competitive TAB teams.

Professor Melissa Henke, who also directs the Legal Research and Writing program, describes strong advocacy skills as fundamental skills used daily by successful practicing attorneys.  She stated, “I am so proud of the students we honored at the banquet, because they have all shown a genuine commitment to developing these important skills.”  Ms. Fausel acknowledged the many ways she grew personally and professionally as a result of her participation in TAB. “Joining TAB helped me in so many ways. My grades got better, I was more confident in and out of class, and I began to really enjoy law school. I am confident that I would not have had such a fulfilling law school career if not for my time on TAB.”  She also credits her post-graduation employment to her involvement in TAB.  “In my first semester on TAB I was offered an internship from my trial coach, Justin Peterson. I accepted, and at the end of my summer Justin then offered me a permanent position with his firm.”

There is a notably strong sense of respect and appreciation amongst the members and advisors of the TAB and Moot Court Board organizations. “I would like to thank all of the board members for their hard work, the coaches for their dedication, and Professor Connelly for her unwavering commitment to not only the program, but every single student,” TAB President Lynsey Freeman said.

Ms. Freeman described this year as “very successful and exciting” and “truly unprecedented” for TAB.  TAB hosted two multi-school competitive trial competitions, had 10 members compete in The Annual Intrastate Competition between the three Kentucky law schools, and had 4 members advocate in the National Trial Competitions. 

Moot Court competed in the Regional Competition of the National Moot Court Tournament and while they came up short, Professor Salamanca was very proud of their performance.  “They worked exceedingly hard in writing their briefs and preparing for the Regional Competition.  We met many times in the run-up to the tournament in preparation.”

Several students were recognized at the banquet for their contributions and achievements including:

Cody Barnett – Overall Best Brief for the Appellant (First Year LRW Advocacy Tournament)
Chapin Fausel – TAB Scholarship Award
Seth Fortenbery – Finalist for Overall Best Oral Advocate (First Year LRW Advocacy Tournament)
Lynsey Freeman – TAB Scholarship Award
Hannah Jamison - Luke Woodward Award (Moot Court Board)
Tamara Patterson – Overall Best Brief for the Appellee (First Year LRW Advocacy Tournament)
Nick Rabold – Overall Best Oral Advocate (First Year LRW Advocacy Tournament) There are many individuals that dedicate numerous hours to helping prepare the students for their respective competitions, including: Professor Biff Campbell – Moot Court Board coach
Professor Allison Connelly – TAB coach and advisor
Alumnae Morgan Fitzbugh – TAB coach
Alumnus Justin Peterson – TAB coach
Professor Paul Salamanca – Moot Court Board coach and advisor
Alumnus Paco Villalobos – TAB coach