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34th Annual Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Moot Court Competition

April 18-20, 2007
by: Diana Luo


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(from left to right) Seth Skiles, Judge Nancy Firestone,
Judge Alan Lourie, Judge Sharon Prost, Michelle Dawson


The national finals of the Thirty-fourth Annual Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Moot Court Competition took place this year on April 18-20 at the Howard T. Markey National Courts Building in Washington, DC. Michelle Dawson and Seth Skiles of the University of Minnesota School of Law won the final round and were awarded the AIPLA Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Award of $2,000. Andrea Leczynski and Ross Hicks of Franklin Pierce Law Center took runner-up honors and received the Irving Marcus Award of $1,000, sponsored by Oblon Spivak McClelland Maier & Neustadt, PC. 

The competition opened with an AIPLA-sponsored breakfast at the Hotel Washington on Wednesday, April 18. Diana Luo, the Acting National Director of the competition, and Cathleen Glime and Nneka St. Gerard, Meeting Planners for AIPLA, attended the breakfast and welcomed the contestants. Northeastern Regional Director, Tom Johnston, gave opening remarks about Judge Rich as well. Following Mr. Johnston’s remarks, Ms. Luo presented certificates recognizing the students’ achievements in the regional competitions held in March in Boston, Chicago, Houston, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Teams from the following schools participated in this year’s national competition: William Mitchell Law School, University of Minnesota Law School, Catholic University School of Law, University of Notre Dame School of Law, University of San Francisco School of Law, Loyola Law School (Los Angeles), and Franklin Pierce Law Center.

Circuit Judges Alan Lourie and Sharon Prost of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and Judge Nancy Firestone from the Court of Federal Claims judged the final round of the competition. The competition concluded with award presentations and a reception at the Dolly Madison House. 

The judges for the quarter-final and the semi-final rounds of the national competition included a wide range of experienced attorneys from the private sector as well as the federal government. The quarter-final judges included Administrative Patent Judges John Jeffery and Thomas Waltz of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, Associate Solicitors William LaMarca and Robert McManus of the Solicitor's Office, Troy Grabow and Kara Stoll of Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner, LLP, Rich Ruzich and John Maher of Epstein Becker & Green, LLP, Shashank Upadhye of Sandoz Coproration, Jacqueline Wright Bonilla of Foley & Lardner, Thomas Johnston of Holland & Knight, and David P. Swenson of Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciressi.

The semi-final judges included Associate Solicitors Janet Gongola and William Jenks of the Solictor’s Office, Steven Bryant of the Department of Justice, Naveen Modi of Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner, LLP, Daniel H. Shulman of Motorola, Inc. and Leon Radomsky of Foley & Lardner. Jason Melvin, law clerk to Judge Sharon Prost, served as the bailiff for the final round. Federal Circuit clerks Lilan Ren, Kendra Robins, Phil Warwick, Megan Woodworth, John Fedock, and Cam Barker served as bailiffs for the quarter-final and semi-final rounds. Jason Melvin also served as head bailiff for the national competition.

Norma N. Bennett of Weil Gotshal & Manges, Thomas Johnston of Holland & Knight, Kevin Noonan of McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff, and Diana Luo of Pooley & Oliver, LLP served as Regional Directors. The problem was prepared by Kim Van Voorhis, who previously served both as the Chairperson of the Young Lawyers’ Committee, and the National Director of this competition, with assistance from past Young Lawyers’ Committee Chair, Steve Helmer, and Regional Directors Thomas Johnston and Diana Luo, as well as Young Lawyers’ Committee members Darren Franklin and Brad Scheller.

The AIPLA congratulates all of the participants in this year's competition and thanks the judges, bailiffs, and AIPLA staff for their time and effort in helping to make this competition a success.


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2nd Place Winners Andrea Leczynski and Ross Hicks with Michael McCabe of
Oblon Spivak McClelland Maier & Neustadt, PC, sponsor of the Irving Marcus Award.


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Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Award winners Seth Skiles and Michelle Dawson