UH Law Center advocacy teams impress in major competitions

April 10, 2018 — Teams from the Blakely Advocacy Institute at the University of Houston Law Center continue to showcase their skills and legal knowledge in moot court and alternative dispute resolution competitions at home and abroad.

Several teams recently were regional finalists with one heading to the national round in Washington, D.C., later this month. A number of Law Center students were cited for individual honors.

"It requires dedication to the art of advocacy to prepare and compete at such a high level," said Jim Lawrence, institute executive director. "The students' success demonstrates the comprehensive scope of our program."

Recent competitions Include:

  • Giles Rich IP Moot Court Competition, Houston Regional:  Finalists. (Fifth straight year UHLC team has advanced to the national round in Washington.)
    • Team:  Jaime Stark and Jorge Zamora; (cited for Best Appellant Brief).
  • Competencia de Arbitraje Internacional de Inversion:  Finalists.
    • A Spanish international investment arbitration competition held at American University, Washington, D.C.
    • Team: Tania Alonzo, Danny Avila, Maria Cristina Ortegon, Carlos Ruiz (also named Best Speaker)
    • Coach:  Research Assistant Professor Julian Cardenas Garcia
  • Vis (East) International Commercial Arbitration Moot, Hong Kong:  Ranked 12th out of 126 teams in global competition.
    • Team: McKenna Andrepont, Tina Gutierrez, Elizabeth Wroblewski
    • Andrepont and Gutierrez, both named honorable mention Best Speakers.
    • Coaches:  Ann Ryan Robertson and Lucy Greenwood
  • ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition, Brooklyn:  Regional Finalists
    • Team: Paula Toro Barragan (9th best speaker in field of 64) and Michael Amaya
    • Coaches:  Cassandra Jeu, a legal clinic supervisor, and Garrett Gibson
  • ABA Representation in Mediation Competition, Denver:  Regional Finalists
      • Team:  Annie Marion and Jonathan Miller
      • Coaches:  Adam Robertson and Danny Dib
  • National Energy Law Negotiation Competition, Houston:  Finalists (ranked #1 after preliminary rounds.)
    • Team: Samin Agha and Andrew Vaughan
    • Coaches: Megan Diac, Ian Brown and Kevin Hedges
  • Merhige Environmental Law Negotiation Competition, Richmond:  Semi-finalists
    • Team: Melanie Fridgant and Kathryn Jones
    • Coach:  Brandon Schrecengost
  • Wagner Labor and Employment Law Moot Court Competition, New York City: Octo-finalists
    • Team:  Justin Diaz, Vanessa Garza and Tiffany Li
    • Coaches: Evan Blankenau and Sushant Mohan
  • Edward Bryant Health Law Transactional Competition, Chicago:   2nd Best Memorandum
    • Team:  Greg Garza, Vanessa Garza and Michelle Jefferies
    • Coaches: Angela Odensky and Julia Peebles

"I also would like to point out that the majority of the coaches for our students are UHLC alumni, who along with members of the faculty, give so generously of their time and expertise to make our students better advocates," Lawrence said. "As the saying goes, 'it takes a village' to help our students on their way to successful careers."

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