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The University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law Moot Court Team recently placed second overall at the Region 4 competition of the New York City Bar Association annual National Moot Court Competition at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, and will advance to the national competition in New York City in February 2020.

The students who competed at the regional competition were Moot Court President Rachele Yohe, Moot Court Vice President Alexander Pabon, Drew Baldwin, Richie Simpson, Rowan Reid and Emily Pence. Baldwin and Pence wrote the briefs for their respective teams.

Team 1, made up of Yohe, Pabon and Baldwin, will represent UK at the national competition. Simpson, Reid and Pence will travel as alternates.

“It is really something to have judges and lawyers repeatedly tell you that you are as good as, if not better than, a lot of lawyers practicing today. I think at least one judge from every round shared that with us and the other competing team, and that is absolutely inspiring to know that we are on our way to becoming great lawyers and advocates,” Yohe said.

The New York City Bar Association Moot Court Competition hosts 15 regional competitions annually. UK sent two teams of three students. UK was one of only two schools that had both teams advance to finals of the regional competition.

Both the regional and national competitions test law students’ expertise in oral argument and brief preparation. Almost 20 years have passed since the UK Moot Court Team has advanced to the national competition.

“The team has gotten so close so many times and to be able to finally push through to the national competition in New York feels like we're carrying on a legacy of the people who poured into us,” Pabon said.

UK Law Professor Michael P. Healy worked with the teams to craft arguments. They were fortunate to gain perspective and advice from 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John Rogers, among many others.

“Professor Healy dedicated so much of his time to help us prepare arguments. He met with each team every weekend for several hours on both Saturday and Sunday to hear our arguments, work through new ideas and leads, and pose practice questions for us to respond,” said Yohe.

The group of law students prevailed over teams from Washington and Lee School of Law, University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, West Virginia College of Law, Wake Forest School of Law, Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law and the University of North Carolina School of Law. The team will face off against a new set of competitors in February for the national title.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.