Equipped to Lead and Succeed

Katie Moran 2L Wins 2014 Advocate of the Year Competition

On Oct. 24, Katie Moran 2L won the USF School of Law 2014 Advocate of the Year Competition, the intramural appellate advocacy competition open to all upper division students who have completed the 1L Spring Moot Court Program.

The Advocate of the Year Competition provides an opportunity for students to develop and showcase their oral advocacy skills. Held in the Moot Court Room, Moran and Alex Taufer 2L faced off in the finals of this year’s competition, in which 33 students participated.
The distinguished panel of judges included Justice James A. Richman ’65 from the First District Court of Appeals, Judge Susan Breall who presides over the Juvenile Delinquency Department of the San Francisco Superior Court, and Judge Charles E. Wilson, II ’02 from the Santa Clara County Superior Court.

“We were seeing both of you as top notch students, but you really could very well be lawyers practicing at the top of your game in any law firm, in any DA’s office, in any public defender’s office, in this state or across this country,” Wilson told the students at the conclusion of the competition.

This year, the Advocate of the Year case asked whether imposing life in prison without the possibility of parole on a juvenile convicted of first-degree felony murder, without having killed or forming the intent to kill, violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. Moran represented the respondent and Taufer represented the petitioner.

Moran also won Best Brief, with Best Brief Runner-up awarded to Shounak Dharap 2L.

“The Advocate of the Year Competition was an incredible opportunity to practice oral argument—and more importantly, to learn to respond to and incorporate critical feedback, to explore our own appellate style, and to make connections with USF alumni,” said Moran. “The experience was a blast—both because the finals were against a good friend and amazing oral advocate, Alex, and because we were able to perform in front of our families, friends, professors, and classmates.”