The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law held the final round of the 52nd annual Morris Brown Myerowitz Moot Court Competition on March 15.
The four finalists, (l-r) Ashley Manuel ’24, Megan Hovious ’24, and (r-l) Anne Kat Alexander ’24 and Jessica Thayer ’24 argued the fictional case Swanson v. Macklin, Newport and the City of Pawnee. In the case, Ron Swanson sued police officers and the city of Pawnee, claiming his constitutional rights were violated when Pawnee police arrested him for creating a fake, satirical Facebook page mimicking the official Pawnee Police Department page.
While the case was hypothetical, presiding over the competition were some of Maryland’s very real jurists, the Hon. Matthew Fader, chief justice, Supreme Court of Maryland; the Hon. Jonathan Biran, justice, Supreme Court of Maryland; the Hon. Anne Korbel Albright, judge, Appellate Court of Maryland; and Maryland Carey Law alumna and jurist in residence, the Hon. Mary Ellen Barbera, retired chief judge of the court formerly known as the Maryland Court of Appeals (now the Supreme Court of Maryland).
Before announcing the winners, the judicial panel praised the competitors for their preparation and nimble responses to questions during their arguments. “You all had a really good command of the caselaw. That is crucial,” said Justice Biran. “Not everybody who gets up before us is that prepared.”
Winner of the coveted best oralist designation was Jessica Thayer, while best brief went to Megan Hovious, who also was runner-up best oralist. Ashley Manuel was recognized as runner-up best brief winner.
Thayer, who aspires to be a public defender, appreciated the opportunity the Myerowitz competition gave her to learn from her peers.
“Throughout this entire competition I was surrounded by tremendously talented individuals with a shared passion for learning the art of oral advocacy,” she said. “Winning best oralist has been a full-circle moment; as I dreamt of competing while watching the finals last year. Finding what you are passionate about, and pursuing it wholeheartedly is an endeavor that you will never regret.”
In Dean Renée Hutchins’s opening remarks, she expressed appreciation for the strong ties between the law school and the Maryland judiciary before introducing the three judges. She also gave a nod to the all-women finalists who exemplify the findings of a new study looking at the progress of women’s representation and achievement in law schools post-WWII to the present. The study found that over the study period Maryland Carey Law placed first nationwide for women's representation among faculty and second for students.
This year, more than 30 students from both the day and evening programs participated in the Myerowitz competition. The event is named for Morris Brown Myerowitz ’68, who died tragically two years after graduation. Members of the Myerowitz family created the competition to honor its namesake’s sharp intellect, academic success, and zest for life. Now a treasured tradition at Maryland Carey Law, the competition attracts alumni, students, faculty, staff, and members of the legal community. Finalists have traditionally been top candidates for highly competitive clerkships.