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UF Law student snags two national titles

Moot court

Moot Court team members from left to right: Ryan Hopper, Monica Haddad, Alex Landback and Celia Thacker.

By Jared Misner
Student Writer

Alex Landback knows how to talk the talk.

The third-year UF Law student took the award for nation's best speaker on January 28 at the fourth annual Andrews Kurth Moot Court National Championship.

While being named the best advocate at the national championship certainly puts Landback in a class of his own, it's not Landback's first best-oralist award. Landback also took the award for best oral advocate at the Robert Orseck Memorial Moot Court Competition at the Florida Bar Convention in June.

"It's about preparation," Landback said. "It's all about having the confidence and going in and having a conversation with the judges."

Hosted by the Blakely Advocacy Institute at the University of Houston Law Center, the national competition pitted the nation's top 16 moot court programs to solve two different legal issues centered on contaminating water with pollutants and whether or not a person can corrupt a witness to unduly invoke his or her Fifth Amendment right.

While UF Law did not advance to the quarterfinals in the competition, this award begins to carve an oral-advocacy dynasty for UF Law, as Wilbert Vancol (JD 11) won the National Best Advocate award at the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition in April.

Although the Florida Moot Court team is building a national reputation for excellence in appellate advocacy, Landback is quick to point out the source of their success. "I am honored to win such a prestigious award, but honestly I could not have done it without the support and patience of my teammates and coaches."

The Houston team consisted of Landback, Monica Haddad (3L), and Celia Thacker (3L), who held rigorous practices leading up to their departure. Haddad argued the environmental issue for The Florida Moot Court team and received glowing praise for her poise and persuasion. Additionally, Aaron Wasserstrom (3L) and Ryan Hopper (2L) served as coaches for the Houston team and ensured the competitors were ready for whatever came their way from the judges. And it showed. In fact, between Haddad and Landback, they had the highest individual score from 11 of the 12 judges in the four preliminary rounds.

This success on the national stage is only the beginning for the Florida Moot Court Team, as it will be sending nine nine teams to other competitions across the country this semester. Considering the start in Houston, the best may be yet to come.