KU Law competition teams repeat as national champions

LAWRENCE — In 2023, University of Kansas School of Law teams were top performers during the National Native American Law Students Association (NNALSA) Moot Court Competition and the UCLA Transactional Law Meet. This year, they saw continued success with back-to-back wins.

Third-year KU Law students Justin Shock, left, and Jade Kearney won the 2024 National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition.

For the fourth consecutive year, a KU Law team won first place at the NNALSA Moot Court Competition on Feb. 23-24 at the University of Montana. The competition featured 51 teams from law schools from across the country. In a simulated appellate-level proceeding, teams make arguments to a panel of judges and answer questions. Judges assess the quality of legal reasoning, oral advocacy and knowledge of case law.

KU Law was represented by three teams: Jade Kearney, third-year law student, and Justin Shock, third-year law student; Skylee James, second-year law student, and Lauren Bretz, second-year law student; and Alex Nelson, first-year law student, and Cody White, first-year law student. James and Bretz advanced to the quarterfinals, where they took home the award for second-best brief. Kearney and Shock took it all the way to the final round, where they clinched the win. Kearney also took home the best speaker award.

“It is such an incredible honor to have won the NNALSA competition this year,” Kearney said. “I am so grateful for the support of the KU Law community and moot court program for making competitions like NNALSA a priority. I can’t wait to keep the legacy going in future years.”

It’s not just the hard work of the champions that results in such success, but also the work of those behind the scenes helping the KU Law students to prepare.

 “KU’s success at this tournament year after year is the result of dedicated alumni and professors giving their time to support our students,” said Nancy Musick, coach of the KU Law teams.

This year, the NNALSA moot court team received alumni support from Dan Kopp, 2019 law graduate; Zach Kelsay, 2021 law graduate, and Maria Drouhard, 2019 law graduate. Three-peat champion Emily DePew, 2023 law graduate, also provided support by traveling with the teams and supporting them in person.

“Our success was a testament to the power of teamwork and collaboration,” Shock said. “Our victory would not have been possible without our coaches, Nancy Musick and Sarah Otto. Everyone in the competition contributed countless hours to aid us. This spirit of collaboration is something we hope to continue as we aspire to return the favor in future years by assisting incoming NNALSA competitors.”

KU Law students also traveled to California for the UCLA Transactional Law Competition on Feb. 23 at the UCLA School of Law.

KU Law was represented by two teams that competed against 20 others from around the country. The Gold Team included Violet Brull, second-year law student; Sydney Hoffman, second-year law student; Cayden Sears, third-year law student; and Kathleen Siderchuk, second-year law student, and was coached by Alex Reed, 2022 law graduate. The Blue Team included Liam Bigbee, second-year law student; Alex Falk, second-year law student; Brooke Flucke, third-year law student; and Gabby Phillips, second-year law student, and was coached by Eric Mikkelson, 1994 law graduate. After a long competition, the Gold Team won best overall for the second year in a row.

“I’m proud of our team’s work,” Brull said. “Each of our team members made invaluable contributions to the effort, as did our team’s coach, Alex Reed. I hope to compete for KU Law again next year, either at this or another transactional competition.”

In this competition, teams draft and negotiate sophisticated business acquisition agreements and compete in three distinct phases: preparation of the agreement on either the buyer or seller’s side, preparing markups for the opposing side’s draft agreement and meeting to negotiate the final contours of the deal.

Both Gold and Blue teams were supported by the Polsinelli Transactional Law Center housed at KU Law. Attorneys with Polsinelli and other law firms donate their time to support and prepare KU Law students for transactional law competitions.

“It was great to see KU Team Gold’s hard work pay off in Los Angeles by winning best overall,” said Reed, associate at Lathrop GPM. “The team put in many hours over the last few months and did an outstanding job representing KU Law on a national stage.”

Learn more about the moot court and transactional law programs at KU Law.

Mon, 03/25/2024


Emma Herrman

Media Contacts

Emma Herrman

School of Law