University of Alberta achieves a historic win of the 2013 Laskin Memorial Moot Competition, by becoming the first Western Canadian law school to win this award in the history of the competition

The University of Alberta Faculty of Law community would like to offer its warmest congratulations to the 2013 U of A Faculty of Law Laskin Memorial Moot Team for a stellar success!

Katherine Thompson - 07 March 2013

(l-r) Francisco Marquez-Stricker (3L), Leah McDaniel (3L), coach Patricia Paradis, Katherine Drouin-Carey (3L), and Pablo Retamozo (2L)

On Saturday, March 2, the University of Alberta Laskin Moot Team won the 2013 top school prize in the Laskin Memorial Moot Competition. The prize is awarded to the school that has won all of its competition rounds and that has performed consistently throughout the moot in all categories. This is the first time in the history of the Laskin Moot (since 1986) that a Western Canadian law school has won this award. It was a particularly 'sweet' win for the team as the U of A was the host team for this year's competition, in Edmonton. Additionally, 2013 is the 100th anniversary of the U of A Faculty of Law!

The Laskin Memorial Moot is Canada's only national bilingual moot. It is named in honour of Chief Justice Bora Laskin of the Supreme Court of Canada. The Moot aims to encourage both legal education and bilingualism while at the same time promoting a spirit of cooperation and understanding in the legal community that transcends linguistic and provincial boundaries. Each year, approximately 18 of Canada's 21 law schools participate in the Laskin and law schools take turns hosting the competition. The moot focusses on constitutional and/or administrative law issues. This year's problem was an appeal from the Federal Court of Appeal to the fictitious Canadian Court of Justice on the issue of re-litigation of a human rights issue that had already been decided by a labour arbitrator.

The 2013 Laskin Moot Team included: Kathy Drouin-Carey (3L), Francisco Marquez-Stricker (3L), Leah McDaniel, and Pablo Retamozo (2L). The team was coached by Patricia Paradis, Executive Director of the Centre for Constitutional Studies at the U of A Faculty of Law.

"The team performed solidly and effectively throughout the competition and they are all, most deservedly, elated, said Patricia Paradis. "This group worked extremely hard and extremely well together and they have a great deal to be proud of - as does our school." Patricia Paradis added that the team faced several challenges early on which may have contributed to their working well together. One initial member had to drop out for personal reasons and a replacement had to be recruited. Then another broke his writing hand and another then had to be hospitalized for two weeks as a result of an appendicitis attack. One might say they bonded through trauma! Additionally, though they received positive feedback from the start, they continued to work on improving their arguments for each practice round and right until the very last day before the moot. This was a very motivated group.

It is often a challenge to find a French speaking student who can both write and argue in French as this is a requirement for this moot. This year, Katherine Drouin Carey stepped up to the plate and did an excellent job. "I think I gained a lot of confidence in oral advocacy, particularly as I was doing it in essentially my second language," commented Katherine Drouin Carey about her experience of mooting in French. "I really managed to improve my French skills and gained much more confidence socializing and interacting in French. I also improved my research and writing skills quite a bit."

(l-r) Francisco Marquez-Stricker (3L), Katherine Drouin-Carey (3L), coach Patricia Paradis, Leah McDaniel (3L), and Pablo Retamozo (2L)

The Laskin Memorial Moot Competition 'First Place Team' prize consists of two awards:

1. The Jeremy Oliver Prize for First Place Team sponsored by McCarthy Tetrault;

2. The Smith Prize for First Place Team which is awarded in memory of Dr. Alex Smith, Legal Scholar and Educator. Interestingly and fittingly for the U of A Faculty of Law team this year, the trophy for this prize, which is a large Inuit carving of a muskox, was created based on an idea for the trophy by Professors DeCoste and Law of the U of A Faculty of Law in 1999-2000. It was donated by the Alberta French Speaking Lawyers Association, the U of A Faculty of Law Class of '65 and the Alberta Crown Attorney's Association. As this is the first time the U of A has won the prize. It is finally home and will be on display in the U of A Faculty of Law for the next year.

The 2013 Laskin Moot team, and coach Patricia Paradis, would like to thank the judges who assisted the team in their practice rounds. Their valuable feedback contributed significantly to their success: (1) Faculty members: Professor Eric Adams, Dean Phillip Bryden, Professor Peter Carver, Professor Matt Lewans, Professor Peter Sankoff and Stella Varvis. Special thanks to Professor Sankoff for his additional support; (2) Justice Greckol (Alberta Court of Queen's Bench) and Justice Veit (Alberta Court of Queen's Bench); and (3) Members of the Bar: Janice Ashcroft (Alberta Human Rights Commission); Karine DeChamplain (Ackroyd LLP); Ritu Khullar (Chivers Carpenter); Justine Mageau(Witten Law); Craig Neuman (Neuman Thompson); Pat Nugent (Nugent Law Office); Don Padget (Government of Alberta); Andy Sims (Sims Group). Special thanks also to Karine DeChamplain (Ackroyd LLP) for her assistance with the Factums.

Lastly, the U of A Faculty of Law Laskin Moot team and coach would like to thank the students who volunteered as time keepers and hospitality hosts at the competition on March 1 and March 2, 2013. This was critical work and all the students performed very professionally. Having observed several rounds of excellent advocacy from 18 teams across Canada, these students may well become the law school's next generation of strong mooters.

The University of Alberta Faculty of Law community would like to offer its warmest congratulations to the 2013 U of A Faculty of Law Laskin Moot Team for a stellar success!

(l-r) Francisco Marquez-Stricker (3L), Katherine Drouin-Carey (3L), Leah McDaniel (3L), Pablo Retamozo (2L), and coach Patricia Paradis

For interviews with the Laskin Memorial Moot Court Competition competitors please click here.