Law students from across the country will travel to Portland this April to compete in the Judge John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition, an interscholastic appellate advocacy competition. The University of Maine School of Law will host this year’s competition in coordination with the University of Texas School of Law from April 2-4, 2020. Teams of competing students will present oral arguments on two related maritime law issues to lawyers sitting as mock panels of Supreme Court justices.
The University of Texas School of Law established the Competition in honor of the Honorable John R. Brown, a noted jurist on maritime law during his long tenure on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Each year, the Competition is held under the joint sponsorship of The University of Texas School of Law and a local host school. The Houston law firm of Royston, Rayzor, Vickery & Williams L.L.P. (where Judge Brown practiced from 1932 to 1955) and the Maritime Law Association of the United States provide major funding each year.
“Maine Law is delighted to host the Judge John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition,” said Interim Dean Dmitry Bam. “We have worked closely with Maine’s many practicing admiralty and maritime attorneys to organize what should be an exciting competition. And the timing couldn’t be better, given Maine Law’s recent launch of a Certificate in Environmental and Oceans Law and the upcoming Oceans and Coastal Law Journal Symposium on Maine’s Maritime Future.”
Maine Law alumnus, Robert Bocko ’85, chairs the organizing committee for Maine Law to host the 2020 competition. He is a litigator who has substantial experience handling maritime, banking, and financial matters in state and federal court as well as in arbitration. He has also advised clients regarding regulatory and business planning matters in a variety of areas, including banking, securities, insurance, and consumer lending in addition to maritime law.
Bob has judged the competition numerous times over the last 20 years and chaired the organizing committee for the 2018 competition for the Seattle University School of Law. The local organizing committee raised additional funds from a variety of sources for Maine Law to host the competition this year.
“Our organizing committee is very pleased to have arranged for this high quality national competition to come to Maine,” said Bob Bocko. “To be able to bring the competition to Maine during its bicentennial year and at a time when Maine Law has a renewed focus on maritime and ocean affairs is especially satisfying.”
By the time competing students arrive at the start of April to present oral arguments, their legal briefs will have been reviewed and graded by maritime lawyers all around the country. High brief grades paired with strong oral advocacy scores on April 2 and 3 in the Cumberland County Courthouse will move the top teams to the semi-final and then championship round arguments in the federal courthouse on April 4. The top two teams will present argument to a mock Supreme Court consisting of five federal judges and three state court jurists in the championship round.
This year two Maine Law teams will compete, both coached by Professor Angela Arey ’05. The law students who are competing on the Maine Law teams are: Julia MacDonald ’20, Sam Martin ’21, Jon Ruterbories ’21, Joseph Shagoury ’21, and Susan Weidner ’21.
A schedule of events is available on the University of Texas School of Law’s website.