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March 30, 2024

SVSU Students Excel in Appellate Brief Writing Competition

college students standing holding crystal awards

Ten SVSU students (five teams) stood out in the American Moot Court Association’s National Brief Writing Competition, ranking among the top 30 to close out the most successful season in the history of SVSU’s moot court program. With this finish, SVSU also tied the record for the most award-winning briefs submitted by a single university in the history of the American Moot Court Association. 

Thirty briefs (15 petitioner briefs and 15 respondent briefs) were nationally recognized out of more than 200 submissions. SVSU teams placing in the top 30 were:

  • Nik Baker, a political science major from Standish, and Diva Patel, a cell biology, molecular biology and biomedical sciences major from Kawkawlin – 6th place petitioner brief.
  • Rylee Livesay, a history major from Midland, and Seth Taylor, a history major from Auburn – 7th place petitioner brief.
  • Jeffrey Ramsey, political science major from Greenwood, and Kennedy Kreger, a political science major from Battle Creek – 8th place petitioner brief.
  • Abi Walk, a management major from Saginaw, and Noah Johnson, a political science major from Lake Orion – 10th place respondent brief.
  • Toni Gjerkaj, political science from Sterling Heights, and Emily Martin – 15th place respondent brief.

The brief writing competition challenges a two-person team to draft an appellate brief using real case law, formatted for submission to the United States Supreme Court. Student teams are required to work independently, with no assistance from the coaches or classmates. SVSU teams faced stiff competition from programs across the country, outscoring teams from the University of Chicago, Yale University, Patrick Henry College and Georgetown University, among others.

Moot court advisor Julie Keil, SVSU professor of political science, along with coaches Kevin Lorentz, assistant professor of political science, and Amy Hendrickson, associate professor of law, this year added brief writing as a requirement for moot court team members.

“Every year, we look for ways to improve the program and enrich the student experience,” noted Keil. “Our students rose to the challenge, and we are incredibly proud of all of them. We have some of the finest students to work with at SVSU and this is further proof of that fact.”

As the SVSU Moot Court team finishes its most successful season to date, the coaches wish to extend a special thank you to the numerous assistant coaches, alumni and members of the regional legal community who have assisted with preparing our student teams. The next season begins in May when the new case problem is released.