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AYC Competition Explores Legal Issues

November 03, 2011

Brian Raynor 3L won the 2011 Advocate of the Year Competition, which spanned several weekends and culminated in the competition finals Oct. 21. Raynor competed in the finals with Jay Pitchford 3L.

From left to right: Alexis Katibah 3L, Brian Raynor 3L, and Robin Lagorio 3L at the AYC competition.

“As law students, we are given tasks that allow us significant time to sit and think about legal problems but we are rarely asked to stand up and be questioned about our understanding of the law,” said Raynor, who served as petitioner in the competition. “AYC gives students an opportunity to work on their communication skills and consider how to speak about difficult problems in an understandable and persuasive manner.”

The brief memorandum for the competition, written by Advocacy Director Robin Lagorio 3L, explored issues relating to commercial speech and Article III standing.

According to the brief, the fictional state of Zief enacted a statute banning advertisements for products containing pseudoephedrine, such as cold medicines. The petitioner, pharmaceutical company BigPharm, claimed the restriction violates the First Amendment. The respondent, Attorney General of Zief Camilla Pharris, contested that BigPharm lacked standing.

Raynor argued that BigPharm had a well-founded fear of future prosecution despite assertions that the respondent would not prosecute; the statue did not materially advance the state’s interest in reducing methamphetamine production as there was no statistical link that indicated production would decrease based on an advertising ban; and the statute restricted speech in a manner that was unnecessary to achieve the state’s goals.

More than 70 alumni served as judges in the competition including Richard D. Pio Roda ’01, principal at Meyers Nave Riback Silver & Wilson, A Professional Law Corporation; Sally White ’10, associate attorney at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP; and Devin Kinyon ’11, assistant director of academic development at Santa Clara Law.

“We are extremely grateful to have alumni who are willing to donate their time and energy to provide feedback to the students,” Lagorio said. “We owe the success of the program in great part to these alumni judges.”