The Moot Court Board is comprised of students who have demonstrated exceptional ability in appellate brief writing and oral advocacy. Day students compete for board membership during their second year and evening students compete during their third year of law school. The mission of the Board is to provide law students with an avenue to enhance their advocacy skills in appellate brief writing and oral debate. The Board accomplishes these goals by presenting a speaker series of federal and state appellate judges and practitioners, offering workshops on how to effectively write briefs and present oral arguments, assisting first and second-year students with their advocacy courses and competing in various competitions. The Moot Court program is, undoubtedly, one of the best ways for law students to develop oral advocacy and appellate writing skills.
Read the Moot Court Board Constitution.
500 West Baltimore Street, Room 160E
Baltimore, MD 21201
Email: mootcourt @ law.umaryland.edu
2022-2023 Executive Board
President: Tayler Littlejohn
Vice-President: Sean Cooley
Treasurer: Jay Sexton
Logistics Chair: Caitlin Gugliotta
Outside Competition Chair: Wes Schrock
Fall Competitions Chair: Nathan Siegel
Myerowitz Co-Chairs/National Team: Kaitlin Barnes, Kali Krockover, Cogan Rooney
Marc DeSimone is the director of the Moot Court program and a 2004 graduate of the law school. Marc has coached the National Moot Court Team since 2005, and the teams he has coached have advanced to the National Championships on four occasions. During law school, Marc was a member of the National Moot Court team after being named best oral advocate in the 2003 Morris Brown Myerowitz Moot Court Competition. In recognition of his outstanding advocacy skills, Marc was inducted into the Order of the Coif and the Order of the Barristers at graduation.
Professionally, Marc is an Assistant Public Defender in the Appellate Division of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, where he has handled several hundred appeals and has presented over 50 oral arguments before Maryland’s appellate courts. Marc’s trial-level advocacy includes personally arguing a state constitutional challenge to the Maryland death penalty statute, litigating a DNA exoneration matter, and successfully securing post-conviction relief on behalf of several clients who were incarcerated for several decades. Marc is also an adjunct faculty member of the law school and author of the chapter on criminal appeals in the Fourth Edition of Appellate Practice for the Maryland Lawyer: State and Federal. Prior to joining the Office of the Public Defender, Marc was in private practice and clerked for the Honorable Vanessa Ruiz, Associate Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
Derek Simmonsen is the senior coach for the Moot Court program. He is a former newspaper reporter and a 2012 graduate of the law school. Derek was a finalist and won the best brief award at the 2011 Morris Brown Myerowitz Moot Court Competition. As a result, he was selected as a member of the National Moot Court Team. At the 2011-2012 National Moot Court Competition, his team was the runner-up regional winner and competed in the finals in New York City. He was also a member of the National Trial Team. Derek currently coaches the National Moot Court Team.
Professionally, Derek is an Assistant Attorney General with the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, representing the Maryland State Department of Education. Prior to joining the Attorney General’s Office, Derek was a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Mary Ellen Barbera (now Chief Judge) of the Maryland Court of Appeals.
Ryan Dietrich is a 2004 honors graduate of the law school. He was an Associate Editor of the Maryland Law Review, and served on the Executive Board of the Moot Court Board. After graduating from law school, Ryan was a law clerk for Judge Glenn T. Harrell, Jr. of the Court of Appeals of Maryland. After his clerkship, Ryan was an associate in the litigation practice group of a Baltimore law firm. In 2009, Ryan joined the Office of the Attorney General of Maryland's Criminal Appeals Division, where he drafted over 400 appellate briefs and argued over 100 cases in the Maryland appellate courts. In 2018, Ryan joined the Civil Litigation Division of the Office of the Attorney General of Maryland. Ryan has been a coach with the Moot Court Board since 2010.
Laura L. Dunn is a nationally recognized victim-turned-victims’ rights attorney whose work has been featured by HBO Vice, National Law Journal, Rolling Stone Magazine, PEOPLE Magazine, The New York Times, MSNBC, Al Jazeera America, and TIME Magazine, among many others. As an outspoken survivor turned student-activist, Laura L. Dunn contributed to the 2011 Title IX Guidance, drafted and lobbied to pass the 2013 VAWA Reauthorization, advised the 2014 White House Task Force to Protect Students Against Sexual Assault, and served on the 2014 U.S. Department of Education’s VAWA Rulemaking Committee. She is now a victims’ rights attorney, published legal scholar, adjunct professor at Maryland Law, member of the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence, liaison to two American Law Institute (ALI) projects. As the current Executive Director of SurvJustice, Dunn has represented survivors in campus hearings, severed as co-counsel in Title IX litigation, and provided expert consultation and witness services to lawsuits addressing campus sexual assault.
In 2014, Dunn received her Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law where she graduated Order of the Barristers for her superior talents in trial and appellate advocacy, as a Rose Zetzer Fellow for her studies in the Women Leadership & Equality program, and received the William P. Cunningham Award for her national work on campus sexual violence. While in law school, Dunn also interned at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, served as a judicial intern for the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, worked as a law clerk for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and founded the national not-for-profit organization, SurvJustice.
Saidah Grimes is a native of South Carolina who attended the University of South Carolina Moore School of Business graduating magna cum laude with her B.S. in Business Administration where she majored in International Business, Corporate Finance, Global Supply Chain and Operations Management and Marketing with a minor in Spanish. Grimes subsequently graduated from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law cum laude, where she was the Technology Editor of the Journal of Health Care Law and Policy and the Treasurer of the Moot Court Board.
Grimes is currently a practicing attorney with Murphy Falcon, & Murphy in Baltimore, Maryland, represents clients in complex commercial litigation matters. Grimes received the “2017 Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine and was named to the “Top 40 Under 40” Black attorneys in Maryland by the National Association of Black Lawyers. For her dedicating over 1,000 hours to community service through youth advocacy, Grimes received a Proclamation from Prince George’s County, Maryland. Her passions include reforming the juvenile justice system and representing students with special needs. For her community involvement, Grimes has won Miss Black Maryland USA and been featured by WHUR Radio, the D.C. Military, Lifetime, and many other organizations and networks.
Matt Haven is a 2012 graduate of the law school and currently works in the litigation group at Gallagher Evelius & Jones in Baltimore. He represents entities and individuals in complex commercial litigation and business disputes. He also represents Gallagher’s real estate development clients on construction and property management issues.
Before joining the firm, Matt served a judicial clerkship with the Honorable Stephanie Gallagher of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. He began his practice in the Baltimore office of a regional law firm. During law school, Matt was a member of the National Moot Court Team and was recognized as runner-up in the Myerowitz Moot Court Competition. Matt participated in the 2011-2012 National Moot Court Competition, where his team was the runner-up regional winner and advanced to the finals in New York City. He also served as Editor-In-Chief of the Maryland Journal of Race, Religion, Gender, and Class. Matt has been selected a Maryland Super Lawyers "Rising Star" since 2016.
Holly Leasure is a 2016 graduate of the evening program of the University of Maryland School of Law and a former president of the Moot Court Board. Currently, Ms. Leasure coaches the John J. Gibbons Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition team. Ms. Leasure was an outstanding competitor in the University of Maryland School of Law's moot court competitions, winning Best Oral Advocate of the 2014 Fall Moot Court Competition and competing as a finalist in the 2015 Morris B. Myerowitz Moot Court Competition. Ms. Leasure competed in the 2016 National Constitutional Law Competition at Charleston School of Law, where her 2-member team was awarded best brief, advanced to semi-finals and finished third place of 24 teams. In addition, Ms. Leasure was recognized as one of the best oral advocates of the preliminary rounds. In recognition of her outstanding appellate advocacy skills, upon graduation, Ms. Leasure was inducted to the Order of the Barristers.
Upon graduation, Ms. Leasure also received the William P. Cunningham award for outstanding service to the law school. Ms. Leasure is a native of the Baltimore area. In 2008, she graduated magna cum laude from Stevenson University where she majored in paralegal studies. Professionally, Ms. Leasure spent several years working as a paralegal and later ,as a law clerk in a local private civil litigation firm handling cases for plaintiffs in medical malpractice and personal injury matters. Upon admission to the Maryland Bar in 2016, Ms. Leasure continued her career at the same firm representing plaintiffs in medical malpractice and personal injury matters. In December 2018, Ms. Leasure transitioned her practice, becoming an associate at Goodell DeVries Leech and Dann in Baltimore, where she defends healthcare providers and institutions in professional liability and malpractice claims.
Linda Morris is a 2017 graduate of the law school and former member of the National Moot Court Team. Linda was a finalist and won the best brief award at the 2016 Morris Brown Myerowitz Moot Court Competition. Linda was also named best oral advocate and won runner-up best brief at the 2015 Fall Moot Court Competition. During law school, Linda participated in the Appellate Advocacy and Law Reform clinic with the Appellate Division of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, and presented oral argument before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. Professionally, Linda serves as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Stephanie A. Gallagher of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. Linda is also a recipient of the 2018 Skadden Fellowship, and will complete her fellowship at the ACLU Women's Rights Project.
William Piermattei joined the School of Law in 2010 after 10 years in private practice. In his role as Managing Director of the Environmental Law Program, he directs the Environmental Law Externship Program, advises students pursuing the certificate of concentration in environmental law, is the faculty supervisor for the Maryland Environmental Law Society (MELS), directs Environmental Law Program conferences and events, supervises the Environmental Law Program moot court and negotiation teams, teaches Environmental Advocacy and manages the day-to-day operations of the Environmental Law Program.
In addition to the above, Bill works on a variety of international initiatives. Along with The Elizabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and Professor Percival, Bill is part of the Secretariat for the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, an international academy of 200 member universities with programs focused on environmental law. He has co-edited the Proceedings of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law’s 10th Annual Colloquium, Global Environmental Law at a Crossroads, Edward Elgar (2014). Currently, Bill is developing and supervising interdisciplinary student projects addressing international environmental issues. Currently, this “project-based learning” model is focused on creating a legal, financial and regulatory framework for developing and managing greywater use for agriculture irrigation in Israel and West Bank off-grid communities, collaborating with the Arava Institute. Prior to arriving at the School of Law in May 2010, Bill was an associate at Venable, LLP in Baltimore. During his career as a litigator, he represented businesses and professionals in a variety of different civil suits, including toxic torts, products liability, business torts, and professional malpractice. Bill graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law with honor in 1999 with a Concentration in Environmental Law.
Rachel Simmonsen is a former newspaper reporter and a 2011 graduate of the law school. After being named best oral advocate in the 2010 Morris Brown Myerowitz Moot Court Competition, Rachel was selected to be a member of the National Moot Court Team. At the 2010-2011 National Moot Court Competition, Rachel was named best oral advocate for Region III, and her team received the award for best brief in the region.
Professionally, Rachel is an Assistant Public Defender in the Appellate Division of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. Prior to joining that office, Rachel clerked for the Honorable William D. Quarles, Jr., of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, and for the Honorable Andre M. Davis, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Jonathan Tincher graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in 2018 and currently practices in the Asset Management Group at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in Washington, D.C.
How to join/membership:
All 2D, 2E, & 3E students can compete in the fall to earn membership on the Moot Court Board.
Requirements for members who made the board the previous year:
- Mandatory attendance at all Moot Court Board meetings
- Active membership in a Committee (Options: Fall Competition Committee, Myerowitz Committee, Lawyering II Committee).
- Mandatory attendance at all Workshops & Speakers Series Events
- Fall Competition Committee Members:
- Judge Oral Arguments
- Grade Briefs
- Practice Arguments/Video Review
- Myerowitz Committee Members:
- Grade Briefs
- Practice Arguments/Video Review
- Lawyering II Committee:
- Write bench brief for argument
- Assist professors, as needed
Requirements for Members who have just made the Board in the Fall Competition
- Mandatory attendance at select Moot Court Board meetings
- Active involvement with an assigned Outside Competition team.
- Mandatory attendance at all Workshops & Speaker Series Events
- Participate in the Morris B. Myerowitz Moot Court Competition in the Spring
- Lawyering II Program - serve as judges for first-year oral arguments and other responsibilities, as needed.
Each year, the Fall Competition is held early in the fall semester for second year day and third year evening students. The students are responsible for composing an appellate brief based on a hypothetical case. Then each student argues one of the positions before a panel of judges composed of Moot Court Board Members. In the Fall Competition, there are two rounds of oral arguments, followed by a Finale. The Finale showcases the two competitors with the highest cumulative scores who have the distinguished honor of arguing before a panel of practitioners and/or actual judges from various jurisdictions. From the Fall Competition, up to 14 students are invited to join the Moot Court Board based on a composite of their first and second round oral scores and their written brief.
Who can compete?
2D. 2E amd 3E students who have taken, or are in the process of taking, Written and Oral Advocacy can compete in the Fall Competition. If you are a 2D or 3E student, do not register for the Moot Court course offering to compete in the Fall Competition -- you will not be receiving credit for participating in the competition. Instead, after you attend the moot court informational meetings on you may complete the online intent-to-compete form. This complete form serves as notification to the Moot Court Board of your intent to compete in the Fall Competition.
Upon completion of the Fall Competition, up to 14 of the top students will be asked to join the Moot Court Board as member-elects. Those member-elects will be become full board member by participating in Myerowitz and achieving scores that place them in the top 2/3 of competitors.
What does a brief look like for the Myerowitz Competition?
Questions about the competition?
If you have any questions please feel to e-mail the Fall Competition Co-Chairs at email@example.com.
We look forward to an exciting and successful competition, and hope to see everyone at the informational meetings.
Appellate Advocacy Resources
U.S. Supreme Court Rules
These are the Rules of the Supreme Court of the United States as revised on January 11, 1999. The amended Rules became effective May 3, 1999, as provided in Rule 48. For previous revisions of the Rules of the Supreme Court see 346 U.S. 949, 388 U.S. 931, 398 U.S. 1013, 445 U.S. 985, 493 U.S. 1099, 515 U.S. 1197, and 519 U.S. 1161.
Rules of the Supreme Court (PDF, 435K)
Appellate Advocacy Workshop PowerPoint Presentations
Presentation on Writing the Appellate Brief