Faculty of Law celebrates one of its most successful mooting years ever

Impressive showing by law students includes winning three national competitions

Carmen Rojas - 7 April 2022

As mooting season comes to an end, the University of Alberta Faculty of Law is celebrating the achievements of students who rose to the challenges of another out-of-the-ordinary year.

Among many wide-ranging successes, Law students took home top prizes in three national competitions.

“I’m proud to say that the University of Alberta had one of its most successful years of all time,” said Chris Samuel, director of the Legal Research and Writing Program. “Perhaps most significantly, we achieved all of this success in the face of continued uncertainty and shifts from in-person to virtual formats.”

These achievements are being recognized at the Faculty’s annual Celebration of Mooting event, which takes place tonight at the Law Centre.

National wins

Emilio Filomeno and Jessica Gill, coached by Farrel Shadlyn and Danielle Mousseau, were named champions at the Canadian Client Consultation Competition in early March. Filomeno and Gill now advance to represent Canada at the Brown Mosten International Competition. With teams from over 30 countries taking part, the competition will be hosted virtually by the Hillary Clinton School of Law at Swansea University in Wales from April 19-24.

The U of A also took first place nationally at the Willms & Shier Environmental Law Moot on March 4-5. The winning team included students Anya Manukyan and Sarah Ormandy, coached by Paul Maas. Ormandy also won first place as the competition’s Top Oralist.

The national Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Law Moot from March 10-11 also saw the U of A team, coached by Anna Priemaza, take home top prizes. Kyla Ronneberg and Thomas Feth advanced to the finals where they were named champions. The entire team, which included Elias Jimenez Gonzalez and Breanna Frape, was awarded the Top Oralists distinction.

Awards and honours

“This year was truly memorable because we received awards in more than half of the competitions that we participated in,” said Samuel. “The breadth of our achievement this year is quite unique.”

In February, the team of Samir Esmail and Julie Grivel, coached by Don MacCannell and Steven Smith, placed third in the MacIntyre Western Canada Trial Cup Moot. They then advanced to represent Western Canada at the national Sopinka Cup competition, where Grivel won best closing statement.

At the Wilson Moot, the U of A team achieved a second place finish and Best Overall Factums. Team members included Kassandra Devolin, Kelsey Fortier, Justine Fay and Rielle Gagnon, coached by Maddison Croden.

The team of Annie Redmond, Cateline Joy, Haya Masri and Shanza Arif — coached by Katherine Fraser and Kerri Facchinutti — enjoyed success at the Gale Cup from March 2-4. Arif and Redmond competed in the semi-finals where they took second place for Best Factum, and the team placed fourth overall.

At the National Family Law Negotiation Competition from March 3-5, team member Christopher McLaughlin-Chernecki, coached by Megan Dawson, secured a Top 10 finish in the Best Individual Negotiator category.

Akash Purewal, Lisa Wang, Mark Stevens and Zachary Gee reached the finals at the Bowman Tax Moot. The team, coached by Ashvin Singh and James Yaskowich, finished second place overall.

At the Clinton J. Ford Moot Court Competition on March 10, the team of Anna Seefeldt and Samuel Teunissen was named the winner. They were coached by Stella Varvis.

The U of A team won the overall competition at the Alberta Court of Appeal Moot from March 11-12, taking first place in both the constitutional and criminal rounds. Derek Zhenxinyu Zhang and Varun Kapoor represented the constitutional team, coached by Don Padget and Andrew Foster. The criminal team was represented by Azan Esmail and Brandon Blenkarn, coached by Heather Gagnier.

U of A team members traveled to Toronto in late March to compete in the Adam F. Fanaki Competition Law Moot, where they took second place in two categories. Olivia Pietras and Kyle Ramsey were named runners-up in the Best Respondent Factum category. Pietras was also named runner-up in the Best Respondent Oralist category. Kyle and Olivia’s teammates were Jacky Xu and Nicholas Siennicki and the team was coached by Barry Zalmanowitz.

The team of Casey Caines, Hero Laird, Lisa Manners and Amanda Wagar travelled to Montreal for the consensus-based, non-adversarial Kawaskimhon Moot that incorporates Indigenous legal traditions alongside federal, provincial and international law. Their coaches, Koren Lightning-Earle, Troy Chalifoux, and Professor Hadley Friedland, were all very impressed with the team’s performance.

The mooting season wraps up on April 8 with the final round of the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin Moot, the Faculty’s in-house competition for 1L students. Ten students will be competing for the privilege of arguing before a final round panel consisting of Court of Appeal Justices Thomas Wakeling, Kevin Feehan and Dean Barbara Billingsley.

“Congratulations to all of our students for representing UAlberta Law so brilliantly,” said Samuel. “I am extremely proud of the resiliency and adaptability [they] displayed.”

“I also want to extend a very special thank you to our dedicated coaches who have spent countless hours reviewing factums, organizing practice panels and providing detailed feedback to students. Our program could not run, let alone succeed, without their tireless involvement.”