All rise! NIU moot court team second nationally

Third-year students Kathryn Guensberg (left) and Manar Zayed with their coach, Professor Robert Jones.
Third-year students Kathryn Guensberg (left) and Manar Zayed with their coach, Professor Robert Jones.

The NIU College of Law team of Manar Zayed and Kathryn Guensburg placed second at the national moot court competition, held Sept. 26 and 27 as part of the 17th annual National Latina/o Law Student Association (NLLSA) conference in New Mexico.

Zayed and Guensburg also were awarded Best Respondent’s Brief; Guensburg was honored as the best oral advocate for the preliminary rounds of the tournament.

Both third-year students, Zayed and Guensburg progressed to the final round by defeating Fordham University School of Law in the quarterfinals and Northwestern University School of Law in the semifinals.

The final round, against Florida Coastal School of Law, was argued before the New Mexico Supreme Court.

NIU Law was among an impressive field of 16 teams from law schools across the nation. Their competitors included teams from Arizona State, DePaul, Florida Coastal, Fordham, Indiana, Northwestern, St. Johns, South Texas, Texas Tech and UCLA.

Following the competition, third-year law student George M. Gomez was elected to be the new attorney general of NLLSA, succeeding NIU law alumna Jazmin Newton-Butt (’13). As such, his duties will include organizing and running the national moot court competition for 2014. Gomez, along with his 2L partner Irakere Picón, also competed with distinction at the tournament, narrowly missing the quarterfinals.

NIU College of Law NLLSA Moot Court team members (from left to right): Manar Zayed (3L), Kathryn Guensberg (3L), coach Professor Robert Jones, Irakere Picón (2L), and George Gomez (3L).
NIU College of Law NLLSA Moot Court team members (from left to right):
Manar Zayed (3L), Kathryn Guensberg (3L), coach Professor Robert Jones, Irakere Picón (2L) and George Gomez (3L).

Both NIU teams were coached by Professor Robert Jones.

“I could not be more proud of Kate, Manar, George, and Irakere,” Jones said.

“The event involved some of the best law schools and moot court programs in the country and all four of our competitors distinguished themselves. Kate and Manar were particularly exceptional. The judges awarded them half of all the prizes available at the tournament,” he added. “I feel fortunate to work with such promising young lawyers. I would also like to thank Dean Jennifer Rosato for being so supportive of our program and the NLLSA.”

A number of the law school’s faculty assisted with the teams’ preparations, including professors Elsa Miller, Marc Falkoff, Elvia Arriola, Mark Cordes and Anita Maddali. In addition, the teams received valuable assistance from alumni and others such as Anum Muhiuddin (’13), Robert Hernandez (’13) and Donna Blevins.

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