#WFULaw wins National Moot Court Competition
Congratulations to Matt Cloutier, Mia Falzarano, and Blake Stafford!
The Wake Forest National Moot Court Team of Matt Cloutier (JD ’17), Mia Falzarano (JD ’17) and Blake Stafford (JD ’17) won the National Moot Court Competition on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, in New York City.
Falzarano won the award for Best Oralist in the final round, while Stafford won the award for Second Best Oralist. In addition, the team’s brief earned the Best Brief award. The brief, primarily authored by Stafford, was one key to the team’s success, because the brief counts for 40 percent of the total score in each round of the competition.
A total of 185 teams from 120 law schools competed in regional tournaments around the country in November. Then 28 regional finalists competed for the National Championship in New York during the week of Jan. 30, 2017. This year’s problem had a commerce clause issue and a Fourth Amendment issue. Cloutier and Stafford split the arguments on the commerce clause issue, while Falzarano was the “swing person” who argued both sides of the Fourth Amendment issue.
In becoming National Champions, the Wake Forest team won all six of its matches in New York. On Monday, Falzarano and Stafford argued against a team from UCLA. Cloutier and Falzarano then argued against a team from South Texas on Tuesday, putting the team in the top sixteen and the elimination rounds. On Wednesday, Cloutier and Falzarano argued against a team from Minnesota, followed by Falzarano and Stafford arguing against a team from Chicago-Kent, as the team reached the final four.
Then, in Thursday’s semi-finals, Cloutier and Falzarano faced a team from Tennessee that had the fourth best brief score. Finally, in Thursday’s final round, Falzarano and Stafford topped a team from Ohio State that had the second best brief score.
The final round panel included federal judges from the Second Circuit and Eastern District of New York, and state judges from New York’s highest court and its intermediate court of appeals. After the round, the judges had effusive praise for the final round advocates.
Back in November, the team won all five of its matches at its regional tournament held in Richmond, Virginia, winning the region and also the best brief award. Professor John Korzen (JD ’91), director of the law school’s Appellate Advocacy Clinic, is the team’s coach.
Dean Suzanne Reynolds (JD ’77) says, “What an amazing accomplishment. I’m not surprised. This team blew everyone away at the Regionals. But still, this is the nationals, one of the oldest, most prestigious of law school competitions. While we’ve been winning at the Regionals, this prize has eluded us since 1986 when we last won it all. Way to go Mia, Matt, Blake and Coach Korzen. What a team. What a coach. What a law school.”
#WFULaw Alumni Spotlights
Wake Forest Law alumni take higher office
- Bart Goodson (JD '96) named N.C. House Speaker's new chief of staff.
- Josh Pitcock (JD '01) named Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff.
- Clayton Somers (JD '96), former chief of staff to N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore, joined the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) as vice chancellor of public affairs.
Annual Fund at Work
Inaugural SBA Wellness Week kicks off today
The Student Bar Association (SBA) will highlight resources for practicing self-care through its inaugural Wellness Week beginning Feb. 6-10 by addressing a different facets of mental health and well-being each day from 12 to 1 p.m. in the Law Commons and beyond.
Thanks in part to a grant from the American Bar Association (ABA)’s Law Students Division and support from the Dean’s Office and the Office of Career and Professional Development, Wellness Week is part of a comprehensive plan to create at Wake Forest Law a culture and community that promotes mental health, well-being and self-care among its students, says SBA President Grace Sykes (JD ’17).
The new program takes a holistic approach to caring for students’ mental health with each day focusing on a different aspect of well-being. Throughout the week, representatives from various organizations, offices and local businesses will be available at tables in the Law Commons to help provide information about the services they offer and resources available to students for maintaining and improving their well-being.
BLSA to host 32nd Annual Scholarship Banquet on Friday, Feb. 10
The annual Wake Forest Black Law Students Association (BLSA) Banquet will be held Friday, Feb. 10, in the Hearn Ballroom of the Winston-Salem Marriott. This year’s theme, inspired by the uplifting words of President Barack Obama, will be “Yes We Can. Yes We Will.”
The event, celebrating the spirit of hope and progress that Wake Forest Law students embody and intend to carry into practice, will begin with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and an awards program at 6:30 p.m.
The keynote address will be given by the Hon. Justice Cheri Beasley of the North Carolina Supreme Court, who became the first black woman to be elected to any statewide office in North Carolina without being first appointed by a governor when elected to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in 2008.
The recipients of three Wake Forest Law BLSA scholarships and the Legacy Award will also be honored during the function. The BLSA Legacy Award is given each year to a faculty member who embodies dedication and commitment to the lives of black law students and whose ardent and sustained support of BLSA has impacted the organization as well as the lives of individual members.
BLSA will also be accepting donations to the scholarship fund, and invites donors to include their name and organization so that they may be recognized during the event.
#WFULaw Faculty Achievements
Law Professor Shannon Gilreath (JD ’02) receives Joseph Branch Excellence in Teaching Award
The Joseph Branch Excellence in Teaching Award will be presented to Professor Shannon Gilreath (JD ’02) by Provost Rogan Kersh at Wake Forest University’s Founder’s Day Convocation at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, in Wait Chapel.
Professor Gilreath is a nationally recognized expert on issues of equality, sexual minorities and constitutional interpretation. He is the author of “Sexual Politics: The Gay Person in America Today” and “The End of Straight Supremacy: Realizing Gay Liberation”. His casebook, “Sexual Identity Law in Context: Cases and Materials,” evaluates the law concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.
“He is a favorite among our students in constitutional law and in seminars on constitutional issues in sexual identity, gender, religion and pronography,” says Dean Suzanne Reynolds (JD ‘77). “He is a thought-leader on some of the most vexing issues of the day and at the same time, creates safe space in his classrooms for constructive, civil discourse.”
Gilreath regularly teaches Constitutional Law, Sexual Identity and Law, Freedom of Religion and Gender and the Law. He is also a core faculty member in the university’s Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies department. He is an advocate for gay rights and frequently consults on cases and has been cited in journals and the popular press.
Gilreath earned his bachelor’s degree from Lenoir-Rhyne College and was a Brown Scholar at Wake Forest Law.
The Joseph Branch Excellence in Teaching Award was established in 1985 to honor Wake Forest alumnus Joseph Branch (JD ’38, LLD ’83) upon his retirement from the North Carolina Supreme Court. Branch embodied the humanistic, student-centered approach to legal education that is the law school’s heritage. Recipients are chosen from the School of Law faculty on the basis of outstanding teaching and service to the legal profession.
Did you know that you can make a gift in honor of someone and Wake Forest will send them a note informing them of your kind gesture? That’s right, it’s like a Valentine that pays it forward with one click! Recently Professor Ralph Peeples called the gifts and records office with an inquiry. “You mean someone took the time to make a gift in my honor?” When he was informed that this was indeed true, he asked: “Are you sure you they know who I am?”
Do you have a professor you would like to celebrate? If so, consider a gift to the law fund in his or her honor.