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KU law school team advances to international rounds of moot court competition

Mon, 02/25/2013

LAWRENCE — A team of University of Kansas law students earned the opportunity to compete in the international rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition after qualifying recently as finalists at the regional level.

Team members Matthew Agnew, of Wichita; Sam Barton, Stilwell; Lauren Pearce, Lawrence; Jane Li, Foshan City, Guangdong Province, China; and Isabel Segarra, Austin, Texas, placed second out of 19 teams based on their oral arguments and written briefs. Two of the KU students also won individual honors for their oral advocacy skills. Judges deemed Pearce third-best oralist and Barton fifth-best oralist among roughly 75 advocates at the Rocky Mountain Regionals Feb. 15-17 in Denver. The international rounds will take place in early April in Washington, D.C.

The Jessup competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial body of the United Nations. This year’s competition required students to argue both sides of a fictional case involving the consequences of climate change on statehood, migration and sovereign lending. Now in its 54th year, the Jessup is the world’s largest moot court competition, with participants from over 550 law schools in more than 80 countries.

“Since September, we’ve taught ourselves international finance, human rights law, environmental law, and what it means to be a State,” said Pearce, a third-year law student. “Our commitment and preparation paid off during oral argument. We were ready for everything the judges threw at us.”

Barton expressed pride in the team’s extensive preparation for the competition and gratitude to the KU law faculty members who helped ready him and his teammates for arguments. He joked about his fifth-place oralist finish behind Pearce, who earned her bachelor’s degree at KU.

“As a former Wildcat, I guess it’s only appropriate that I finished just behind an incredibly talented lifelong Jayhawk, and happily so,” said Barton, who went to Kansas State University before law school.

John Head, the Robert W. Wagstaff Distinguished Professor of Law, coaches KU’s Jessup team.

The KU School of Law boasts a history of success in the Jessup competition, advancing to the international rounds five times in the past 25 years. The competition is part of an extensive moot court program at the law school, which includes an in-house competition for second-year students and many opportunities to face off against other law schools in national and international competitions. The KU School of Law’s moot court program ranked 26th in the nation in the University of Houston Law Center’s 2011-12 rankings.



Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner. See it here: http://bit.ly/1awodaa
Rock Chalk! Junior Ashlie Koehn named KU's 18th Truman Scholar
Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening.

.@NYTimes columnist @WCRhoden will speak at a symposium about race and sports April 23. http://t.co/UiKA9MYNv0 http://t.co/PHwCOHqcfD
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: http://bit.ly/1awodaa Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.


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