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Moring and Aronovitz prevail in Maguire Appellate Advocacy Competition

by Jessica Miles
Contributing Writer/ 3L

MootFlorida Moot Court Team members David Hughes, C. Andrew Roy, Philip Moring, and Cary Aronovitz (supported by alternates Kevin Combest and Shelly Garg) argued before a panel of five retired chief justices of the Florida Supreme Court in the 26th Annual Maguire Appellate Advocacy Competition on March 5.

The distinguished panel of retired chief justices, all of whom are UF Law alumni, included the Hon. Harry Lee Anstead (JD 63), Hon. Stephen H. Grimes (JD 78), Hon. Parker Lee McDonald (JD 50), Hon. Ben F. Overton (JD 67), and Hon. Charles T. Wells (JD 64).

"Today, we recognize not only the great legal minds that comprise this distinguished panel of judges, but also their strong ethic and unwavering professionalism," said Rob Davis, president of the Florida Moot Court Team, after welcoming the guests to the competition. "As we embark on our legal careers, these are traits that all of us, I am confident, will emulate with pride."

Hughes argued the first issue for the petitioner and was immediately met with questions from the justices.

"Justice Wells started questioning me in the middle of my roadmap and I had to get back to the third part of it later in the competition," said Hughes. Despite the tough start, Hughes remarked, "I genuinely thought that was the most fun I have ever had in 15 minutes of oral argument. The judges had this way of asking really hard questions without sounding confrontational, which allowed me to enjoy the experience."

MootThe purpose of the Maguire competition was to provide the competitors with useful critiques regarding their oral arguments before going on to compete against other moot court teams from across the nation in the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition.

"Preparing for the Maguire competition helped immensely for the preparation for the ABA. We were given a set date by which we had to be competition ready and because that date was a week earlier than the ABA competition, it served as an invaluable benchmark in our preparation," said Moring.

"We spent our winter break writing the brief for this competition and we've all prepared for oral arguments ever since. It was an exceptional opportunity to make an oral argument before these justices," added Aronovitz. Together, Moring and Aronovitz won the competition for the respondent.

Justice Overton announced the winners and also gave Moring the award for Best Oralist. Justice Anstead followed by congratulating the competitors.

"In terms of the preparation of the presentations today, I was more impressed by the four of you than any other moot court team that I have ever seen. The four of you were so incredibly impressive," he said.

Justice Grimes, also impressed, added, "We asked you so many questions and we compliment you for answering them so well."

MootIt was undoubtedly a great honor for the competitors to receive such glowing remarks from the justices.

"It feels really good to be rewarded for our efforts and to hear the positive feedback from such an esteemed panel of judges," said Aronovitz.

For Aronovitz and Morning, both 3Ls, the ABA competition will be their last as members of the Florida Moot Court Team. Moring reflected on the experience, "Amidst the long hours of preparation it seems like a relief that it's almost over, but I know that after the competition and especially after graduation, the realization that I won't get to represent UF in moot court competitions anymore will set in."

For more information on the Florida Moot Court Team, visit www.law.ufl.edu/students/organizations/mootcourt.