Minnesota Law Has Outstanding Showing at National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition
Two teams of Law School students had an impressive showing at the 2021-22 National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition. The competition was hosted by the West Virginia University College of Law March 2-5, 2022. Both teams advanced to the quarterfinals and one of the Law School’s teams advanced to the final argument (viewable here).
The team arguing in the finals was composed of three 3Ls, Christopher Cerny, Eden Faure, and John Schwieters. All three students have taken environmental law courses and are veterans of the moot court program. Cerny won the 2020 Clary Cup and was on the team last year. Faure is a veteran of Civil Rights Civil Liberties Moot Court, and Schwieters is a veteran of Environmental Law Moot Court. In the final round, Cerny and Faure argued in front of three federal judges from West Virginia, who did not pull any punches in their questions, and in the end remarked that the teams in the finals were more prepared than most attorneys who appear in front of them.
The other team that advanced to the quarterfinals is also composed of students with both environmental law and moot court backgrounds. Brandon Crawford, 3L, received a team spot after his strong coursework in Environmental Moot Court. Hannah Ebersole, 3L, serves as a student director for Environmental Moot Court, after her strong coursework in the course last year. Melissa Watton, 2L, is enrolled in National Moot Court this year, along with environmental law courses.
Professor Alex Klass and Professor Randall Ryder are integrally involved with the recruitment and selection of team members, along with helping the teams prepare for the competition. The team is coached by two attorneys with considerable environmental law and appellate experience. Rachel Kitze Collins ‘14 is an attorney at Lockridge Grindal Nauen, where she practices in the firm's environmental, business, and employment groups. Emily Polachek is an Assistant U.S. Attorney and Environmental Crimes Coordinator at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minneapolis.
Reflecting on this year’s team, the coaches said, “It is really incredible to witness the progress that each student makes from our practice arguments in the fall through to the final rounds of the competition. The problems in these competitions tend to be very complex and involve technical aspects of environmental and administrative law that few practitioners have experience litigating. We were incredibly impressed how hard the students worked both in class and on their own to master the issues and prepare for their arguments, and the work paid off with both teams advancing to the knock-out rounds against some other strong teams. We are very proud of everyone’s performance at this year’s competition.”