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April 11, 2016

Law students at the University of Kentucky College of Law tackled a LGBT case at the 12th Annual Williams Institute LGBT Moot Court Competition in Los Angeles, California. This opportunity allowed the students to go beyond the classroom and gain valuable practical skills training. The UK Law students are members of the school’s OUTLaw student organization.

The event, held at the UCLA School of Law in February, featured teams from 28 prestigious schools across the country and is the only national competition dedicated exclusively to the areas of sexual orientation and gender identity law.

Through moot court, or mock court, law students write an appellate brief on a current legal topic and argue the case before a panel of judges. In this case, teams of two or three members examined a hypothetical executive order that created a placement goal for employment of LGBT employees at federal contractors and subcontractors.

UK OUTLaw's moot court team performed superbly among the other law schools in the preliminary round, but did not advance to the quarter-final round. 

“Even though our team did not advance, we held our own against some highly intelligent and impressive law schools, and we’re proud of our accomplishment,” said UK OUTLaw Vice President Thomas Wall.

The competition was the perfect opportunity for the students to practice written and oral advocacy skills that they’ve learned in the classroom, validating the value of their UK Law education.

“The education we’ve received at the UK College of Law helped prepare us for this truly invaluable experience,” said Wall, a current 3L.  “We are thankful that Dean Brennen and the College of Law provide such opportunities for its students.”

Following the all-day event, the students explored the City of Angels, which led to a highlight of the trip: a visit to the must-see Santa Monica Pier! While there, they met an artisan who carved clay sculptures of their faces, which in relative to size, were as big as the human hand.

“The artisan was crazy accurate with the sculptures and we were all happy to come home with a souvenir,” said Wall.

Although this was only the second time UK Law students visited America’s second largest city to participate in the competition, they certainly hope it is not the last. Limited to second and third-year law students (first-year students will not have completed their writing course at this time), the competition is designed to promote and recognize the finest oral and written advocacy on a significant problem in sexual orientation and gender identity law.

UK OUTLaw is a coalition of LGBT students and allies at the UK College of Law. Their goal is to provide a safe, supportive environment for LGBT students, educate the university community about LGBT issues in the law, assist in the recruitment of talented LGBT students to UK Law and serve the greater community.