Florida beats Georgia — in the courtroom
By Mary Adkins and Jenna Box (4JM)
The Florida Moot Court team of Heather Kruzyk (3L) and Andrew Silvershein (2L), coached by Dee Dee Scheller (3L), beat the University of Georgia’s team in the 33nd annual Hulsey Gambrell Florida-Georgia Moot Court Competition in Jacksonville’s federal courthouse on Nov. 1.
The competition traditionally occurs the day before the football game and more often than not, the team that wins the moot court competition ends up losing the football game. This year was no exception.
A panel of five federal judges — two from the Southern District of Georgia, two — Senior Judge William Terrell Hodges, (JD 58) and Judge Marcia Morales Howard, (JD 90) — from the Middle District of Florida, and one “neutral” judge from the 11th Circuit, Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat, decided the outcome.
Preparation was the biggest factor when it came to this year’s win, said Mary Adkins, a UF Law professor and the team’s faculty adviser.
“I think what set them apart from the other two was that they kept their cool the entire time,” Adkins said. “They did not let any questions from the judges distract them, they kept their good demeanor toward the court and answered all the questions that were asked to them and handled it in an extremely professional manner.”
For Silvershein, the “incredible” experience of winning was highlighted by the fact that it was his first moot court competition ever, he said.
“Our coach, Dee Dee Scheller did an amazing job with helping us prepare for the competition,” he noted. “Heather and I both felt ready, as we had practice benching sessions every day, which helped us anticipate some of the questions that the judges would ask.”
Judge Hodges noticed their readiness, and pulled Adkins aside after the competition. He said, “‘Your students this year did as well as any I have ever heard in this competition.’”
The moot court victory was followed by a star performance from Dean Robert Jerry in the “Dueling Deans” presentation — a satirical presentation about what the law schools are up to — at the Jacksonville Bar lunch. Jerry humorously examined the correlation between the Florida-Georgia moot court wins and football losses, winning his duel as well.
“It was nice to be able to send Dean Jerry off with a win,” Silvershein said.