Amanda Outcalt ‘23 Named USF’s ‘Advocate of the Year’

By Matthew Hose Posted Fri, 11/12/2021 - 14:32

Amanda Outcalt ‘23 won this year’s Advocate of the Year Competition (AYC) after arguing both sides of a legal issue against a field of 31 other students.

The Oct. 29 final round of the competition featured oral arguments over Zoom about the intersection of police response and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Brea Aguas ‘23 was the second-place finisher, while Seaf Hartley ‘23 won Best Brief.

AYC is an annual competition presented by USF Law’s Moot Court Board, providing upper-division students the chance to write appellate-level briefs and argue mock cases in front of a panel of practicing judges.

Outcalt, who is also involved in the Women’s Law Association and the Environmental Law Student and Alumni Society, credits AYC with improving her writing and oral advocacy skills.

“Hearing from the justices that I had won was such an awesome moment,” Outcalt said. “The whole experience really solidified my interest in litigation.”

This year’s panel of judges included the Hon. Lynn Duryee ‘79, also a USF Law professor of Civil Procedure; the Hon. Beverly Wood ‘83, who has taught Mediation at USF, and the Hon. Fafa Alidjani. Jasmine Mitchell ‘22 served as this year’s AYC director.

Judge Duryee praised both contestants’ performances in handling “a difficult case with difficult arguments.”

“Even though making decisions is something we do for a living, choosing between (Outcalt and Aguas) was a brutal task,” Duryee said.

She said both Outcalt and Aguas were outstanding in three key ways: demonstrating respect toward the justices and the appellate process, being responsive to questions they couldn’t have anticipated, and coming into the competition prepared.

“If all lawyers did this, our lives would be a lot easier,” Duryee said.

Aguas said she was grateful for the valuable feedback she got from the judges and for the entire AYC process.

“Being part of AYC was a great learning experience,” Aguas said. “All parts of the competition helped me develop and strengthen legal skills for my law school career and beyond.”