Texas A&M Law Places in Top 10 in ABA Competitions Championships

June 8, 2018

ABA competition Top 10 teamsTexas A&M University School of Law earned a top 10 ​finish in the inaugural American Bar Association (ABA) Competitions Championships. Texas A&M Law ​ranked number one among law schools in the SEC.

The championships rank law schools based on the points the school earns through their teams’ performance and participation in the ABA Law Student Division’s four practical skills competitions:  arbitration, negotiation, client counseling and national appellate advocacy competition (NAAC Moot Court).

Texas A&M School of Law received 28 points competing against more than 1,300 students from 156 law schools in regional and national contests. In ABA competitions, law students employed real-world legal skills in a simulated practice environment. Judges for the competitions included volunteer practicing attorneys and sitting members of the bench.

Kaitlyn Pound Grant MooreKaitlyn Pound and Grant Moore, regional champions and national semifinalists, ABA Client Counseling Competition

Aggie Law's Advocacy Program fielded six teams for three ABA competitions this year, with one team winning the regional championship and advancing to the national finals. Kaitlyn Pound and Grant Moore finished as national semifinalists at the Client Counseling National Competition held in March in North Carolina. This year’s other successes include a regional semifinalist, regional fourth place best brief and best advocate, and a top 10 best advocate.

Jennifer EllisJennifer Ellis, Texas A&M Advocacy Program Director

“This is very exciting for our school to have ranked in the top ​10 of all law schools who compete in the ABA competitions,” said Advocacy Program Director Jennifer Ellis.

“This is a new award that the ABA created to measure participation and success globally across all of their advocacy competitions. Until now, there’s been no way to recognize or reward success across various ABA competitions—like appellate advocacy, negotiation and client counseling,” continued Ellis.

Kay ElliottKay Elliott, Adjunct Professor and ADR coach

Adjunct Professor Kay Elliott, a mediation expert who coaches several Aggie Law ADR (alternative dispute resolution) teams, is humbled by this recognition. “We have very talented students, and they work very hard to win these competitions,” Elliott said.

The impact of the Texas A&M School of Law advocacy program can be far-reaching. Students benefit from a rigorous program which prepares them for practice through hands-on experiences and real-world skills development. 

“We have had students tell us that their advocacy successes have not only helped them get a job and stand out in the applicant pool but, more importantly, have helped them in their personal lives,” Elliott said.

Luz HerreraLuz Hererra, Associate Dean for Experiential Education

Professors like Luz Herrera, Associate Dean for Experiential Education, are proud of the law school’s ​Advocacy ​Program. “We spent several months evaluating and restructuring our program to ensure it is stronger and that it remains a top-notch program. This award affirms we are doing something right,” Herrera said.

Texas A&M Law’s expanded experiential education curriculum includes the ​Advocacy Program competition teams as well as 11 legal clinics where students work with actual clients, the Externship Program, a variety of simulation courses and other related programs.

“Our students can be assured that the advocacy experience they are getting is amongst the best in the country. Our students are primarily responsible for our ranking, so it is a great reflection of their commitment and skills,” Herrera said.

The ABA created this award to recognize law schools that go above and beyond to help prepare their students for practice. Success in these competitions illustrate the school’s commitment to providing a well-rounded curriculum and preparing students to become highly skilled lawyers. Participation in ABA competitions is an important part of the hands-on learning experiences available to Aggie law students.

“Our four competitions offer students an amazing opportunity to hone essential lawyering skills before they enter practice. Through consistent participation and success in ABA competitions, these law schools display especially well-rounded practical skills training programs. We are thrilled to recognize these schools through the Competitions Championship,” said Connie S. Smothermon, Competitions Committee Co-Chair, Director of Competitions & Externships, University of Oklahoma College of Law.

For more information about the Texas A&M School of Law Advocacy Program, visit https://law.tamu.edu/advocacy.

2017-18 Texas A&M Law ABA Competition Teams

ABA Client Counseling Competition
     Team 1:  Kaitlyn Pound and Grant Moore
          Coach:  Kay Elliott
                    Regional champions, national semifinalists
     Team 2:  Morgan Parker and Steven Traeger
          Coach:  Kay Elliott
                    Regional 3rd place

ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition
     Team 1:  Stephanie Assi, John Robinson, Meredith Livermore
          Coach:  Joe Spence
                     Regional Semifinalists
                     4th place best brief – Manhattan regional
                     4th place best advocate (John Robinson) – Manhattan regional
     Team 2:  Ryan Kinkade, Sarah McConnell and Emma Martin
          Coach:  Jennifer Ellis
                    8th place best advocate (Ryan Kinkade)

ABA Negotiation Competition
     Team 1:  Chris Hamilton and Jessica Holtman
          Coach:  Chris Watts
     Team 2:  Laurel Curtis and Lauren Trimble
          Coach:  Chris Watts

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
  • 23 regional championships
  • 1 state championship
  • 1​6 best advocate awards
  • 13 best brief awards