Advocacy Teams Win ABA National Semifinalist Honors

April 22, 2019

Texas A&M University School of Law ​Advocacy Program moot court and mediation competition teams finish as ABA national semifinalists.

2019 national semifinalist advocacy teamsTexas A&M University School of Law Advocacy Program ABA national semifinalist team members John Robinson, Heather Nichols and Grant Schauer (​moot ​court) ​with Derek McKee and Kaitlyn Pound (​mediation)

Both Texas A&M University School of Law ​Advocacy Program teams competing in the American Bar Association (ABA) national finals this month finished as national semifinalists--top four in the nation. 

The moot court team of third-year students Heather Nichols, John Robinson and second-year student Grant Schauer were national semifinalists at the ABA National Appellate Advocacy ​Competition in Chicago. ​Texas A&M Law Advocacy Program Director Jennifer Ellis coached the team.

According to Ellis, this event is the most prestigious moot court competition in the nation, starting with 198 teams competing at the regional level. Then, 24 regional champions compete for the national title. It is also "extremely difficult" to get to the national semifinal level. It has only been achieved once before at the law school, 14 years ago.

Three out of the top four teams in the national competition were from Texas, highlighting the strength and competitiveness of Texas schools. 

The alternative dispute resolution (ADR) team of third-year students Kaitlyn Pound and Derek McKee were national semifinalists at the ABA Representation in Mediation ​Competition in Minneapolis in early April. They were coached by Kay Elliott, Texas A&M Law adjunct professor. This marks Pound's second national semifinalist achievement, having also been a national semifinalist at the ABA Client Counseling national finals last spring. 

"It’s very difficult to achieve such a high level of success twice in different competitions." said Ellis of Pound's accomplishment. "This was Mr. McKee’s first advocacy competition, which is impressive," added Ellis.

Learn more about the Texas A&M School of Law Advocacy Program:

The Advocacy Program at Texas A&M School of Law is a key component of Texas A&M School of Law’s Experiential Education program, making Aggie law students practice-ready. Directed by Jennifer Ellis, the Advocacy Program consists of three disciplines: appellate advocacy (moot court), trial advocacy (mock trial) and dispute resolution (mediation, negotiation and client counseling).

Our Moot Court, Mock Trial and Aggie Dispute Resolution teams are nationally recognized. Since the law school’s inception, the program has received:

  • 3 international championships
  • 12 national championships
  • 25 regional championships
  • 1 state championship
  • 1​6 best advocate awards
  • 13 best brief awards