AASU Team Wins Moot Court National Championship

(Savannah, GA-January 26) In what amounts to be a first for any college or university in the University System of Georgia, a team from Armstrong Atlantic State University (AASU) has brought home the 2007 American Collegiate Moot Court Association National Championship.

Seniors Brian Dotson of Pooler, GA and Adam Morrison of Savannah, both political science majors, defeated 63 other moot court teams from across the nation to claim the championship. Regent University Law School in Virginia Beach, VA hosted the event January 19 - 20.

The AASU team dethroned top-seeded, two-time consecutive national champion Patrick Henry College, a private Christian school in Virginia that fielded eight teams, the maximum allowed.

Among the judges and lawyers serving as judges in the competition was former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. In the final round, Dotson and Morrison argued in before Ashcroft who served as the chief justice of the round.

"The key was that we had a vision about how to do this by tapping all the resources available on campus and in the community," said John Kearnes, associate professor of political science and originator of the moot court program at AASU.

In November of 2006, Dotson and Morrison won first place in the third annual Southeast Undergraduate Moot Court Regional competition, winning a berth in the national tournament.

AASU fielded a second team, composed of Mary Melton and Melissa Williams, who finished in the round of sixteen.

AASU faculty members Liz Desnoyers-Colas, assistant professor of speech/communication, and Becky da Cruz, assistant professor of criminal justice, together with Kearnes, served as faculty coaches.

The Savannah-based law firm of Hunter Maclean Exley & Dunn, P.C. has provided coaching and financial support to the moot court program. Other members of the legal community who have served as coaches include: Judge Michael Barker, Chatham County Magistrate Court, and Joe Steffen with Miltiades & Steffen.

"Nobody expected our teams to place anywhere significantly," said Colas. "However, we used the resources we had on the campus and in the community. Our students, who are incredibly talented, represented the University System of Georgia very well."