First-year law students gathered on Saturday, April 11 in the MacDonald Moot Court Room for the final round of the 2015 Langfan Family first Year Moot Court Competition. This year's competition scenario—based on a recent U.S. Supreme Court case involving a request for a specialty license plate—required competitors to test the boundaries of current First Amendment doctrine.
"This year's Langfan Competition was absolutely remarkable, and the caliber of advocacy seen across the first-year class was extremely impressive," says Justin Ndichu '16, the 2015 Moot Court Board Chancellor. "With previous registration records broken, it became abundantly clear that the competitors relished the challenge of Supreme Court advocacy, and each competitor exhibited impressive mastery of the exciting First Amendment problem."
Finalists, Jared Hoffman '17, arguing on behalf of the petitioner and Michael Levy '17, arguing on behalf of the respondent, debated in front of an esteemed panel of guest judges: Hon. Jerome Holmes of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Hon. Stephanie Thacker of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Hon. Mae D'Agostino of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, Hon. Cathy Bissoon of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and Hon. Jonathan Feldman BA '78 of the U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Western District of New York.
After deliberations, the judges awarded first place to Hoffman, who received a $500 prize. Runner-up Levy received $250. The prize money was donated by the Langfan Family.
Ndichu notes: "The two finalists were nothing short of outstanding, displaying great poise under 'heavy fire' from the panel of five federal judges. It truly was a joy to watch them advocate."