Third-year law student Alec McIlwraith-Black awarded the inaugural Mandy MacLeod Prize

UAlberta Law's virtual celebration recognizes triumphs of the 2019-2020 moot season

Sarah Kent - 06 April 2020

In the moot courtroom, Alec McIlwraith-Black has proven himself to be a formidable advocate, and his successful mooting career has earned him recognition as the inaugural recipient of the annual Mandy MacLeod Prize.

"Mooting has been the highlight of my time at UAlberta Law," said McIlwraith-Black. "Mooting is something that brings the whole Faculty together."

Mandy MacLeod, '14 JD, who is a Crown prosecutor and was a Dickson Medallist and Gale Cup finalist in 2013, awarded the third-year UAlberta Law student the prize at the Virtual Celebration of Mooting on Friday, April 3.

The prize is awarded to the graduating student who has made the greatest contribution to the UAlberta Law mooting program in their three years. It was founded by Professor Peter Sankoff, in conjunction with Interim Dean David Percy, QC.

"Mandy MacLeod is one of the best mooters that this school has ever produced," said Sankoff as he announced the new award. "Her legacy bears that out."

MacLeod's commitment to mooting excellence didn't end when she graduated from UAlberta Law. She returned to the moot program as a coach while articling and has dedicated her time to coaching for the last six years. She co-coached the Gale Cup teams through their unprecedented back-to-back-to-back wins, along with leading UAlberta Law to success in the 2019 Commonwealth Moot.

"I am deeply honoured," said MacLeod. "I love this moot program so much, and it has been such a big part of my life. To give this award to someone who I know loves it as much as I do is such a pleasure."

McIlwraith-Black has had notable victories throughout his time at UAlberta Law. He received second prize for the Best Appellant Factum at the 2020 Gale Cup and was part of the team that earned the historic "three-peat," in which UAlberta Law won the Gale Cup for the third consecutive year. He won the Dean's Cup in his first year, followed by more success in his second year when he won the Brimacombe Selection Round. McIlwraith-Black also dedicated his time to mentoring other students in mooting as a Writing Fellow and received Eighth-Best Oralist in the Davies Corporate/Securities Moot in 2019.

UAlberta Law saw great success during the 2019-2020 moot season. While in-person events were out of the question, Sankoff and Samuel knew that the celebration must go on, and the annual Celebration of Mooting quickly transformed into a virtual event.

"In this difficult time, it is very easy to get caught up in the challenges ahead, but it is important not to lose sight of some of the amazing things that have happened in 2019-2020," said Sankoff.

In his welcoming remarks, Dean Percy noted that moot victories have been a highlight of his time as dean. "Our mooters have given me the best bragging rights possible with so many team and individual successes in one year."

The Honourable Kevin Feehan,'78 LLB, a justice of the Alberta Court of Appeal, also joined the celebration and shared his words on the importance of mooting.

"The art of litigation is advocacy," said Feehan. "Congratulations to all of you for participating in the program, and thank you for becoming great advocates."