February 18, 2014
Oregon Law Tax Moot Court team competes in national competition
The University of Oregon School of Law Tax Moot Court team advanced to the final round of the National Tax Moot Court Competition claiming the title of Best Brief earlier this month. Teammates Heidi Bowerman, Vanessa Rich and Trevor Gates performed exceptionally and received great reviews from the judging panel.
Sponsored by the Tax Section of the Florida Bar Association, the competition provided 16 teams of law students from across the nation with an opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency in oral advocacy and brief writing. The competition consisted of a double round elimination oral argument followed by single eliminations quarterfinals, semifinal and final rounds. A panel of attorneys, who are members of the Florida Bar Tax Section, judged the preliminary rounds, and the assessment of the final rounds consisted of judges from the United States Tax Court.
The Tax Court judges who judged the final round of competition commented that, “Vanessa had the judges convinced that she was actually corporate counsel representing the taxpayer.” The judges also called Trevor, “intense… projects confidence,” and “implacable.” Heidi also argued to victory twice in earlier rounds and got great comments from the judging panel.
Bowerman, Gates, and Rich began preparing for the competition last December. After writing their award-winning brief over winter break, in January they began intensive preparation for the oral advocacy portion of the competition. They honed their arguments by practicing three to four times per week, first with their coach, Oregon Law Professor Roberta Mann, and later before practice judges. Professor Mann arranged for the students to practice in front of local practitioners and former competitors to provide them with ample opportunities to refine their arguments. Two of the three team members were also taught Legal Research and Writing techniques by Professor and Director of Clinics and Externships Megan McAlpin.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Trevor, Vanessa and Heidi," said Professor Mann. "As I tell all of my moot court students, the preparation has as much or more value as the results of the competition itself. That being said, I just couldn’t stop smiling when the team did so well. Their hard work really paid off.”
All three students are especially grateful to Professor Mann for playing an instrumental role in their success throughout their education thus far. They consider her a driving force in furthering their interest in tax law, both individually and as a team related to the competition.