Law School students win third straight competition

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Derek Kauanoe, (808) 956-0836
Community Outreach Coordinator, Law
Melody MacKenzie, 808 956-8411
Professor, Law
Posted: Mar 4, 2013

Law School team
Law School team
For the third straight year in a row, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Richardson School of Law students won first place in the best overall category, “Best Advocates,” at the National Native American Law Students Association’s 21st Annual Moot Court Competition held this past weekend at Lewis & Clark College of Law in Portland, Oregon.  
The students also earned first place awards in the “Best Oralist” and “Best Legal Brief” categories as well.  The primary focus of the competition is federal Indian law.  To date, the William S. Richardson School of Law has captured a total of 33 awards at this competition in its 21-year history.   

UH Mānoa Law School had five teams at the competition out of a field of 67 teams.  After the first day of preliminary rounds, the law school placed four teams in the top 16.  That was whittled down to two UH Mānoa teams in the quarter-final rounds with the top 8 teams.  Later a single team moved on to the semi-final round and ultimately the final round against a team from Columbia University in New York.  

“We’re proud of our students’ hard work and we’re excited about their consistent performance each year,” commented Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie, a UH Mānoa law professor and a faculty advisor who accompanied the team to Portland.  Team captain Elika Otoya-Stimpson explained, “Our success was a team effort and we’re thankful for the support we received from the law school and the legal community in preparation for the competition.”  

The first place Best Advocates award was earned by third year law students Caycie Gusman and Catherine Hall.  Hall also won the first place Best Oralist award.  Third year law student, Zachary Di Ionno and his second year law student partner Sommerset Wong won first place Best Legal Brief.  Last year, Gusman and Hall together also argued in the final round against another Hawaiʻi team and earned second place Best Advocates.  Hall explained, “It was a great experience!  The people were great.  The competition was a lot tougher this year.”
Twenty-four law schools were represented in the competition including Cornell, UCLA, University of Michigan, and the University of Washington.

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