UC Hastings Moot Court held on to its coveted #1 ranking this semester, capping off a school year that saw alumni coaches participate in greater numbers than ever.
The 90-plus student team members were dubbed “Covid National Champions” in a recent Zoom awards ceremony to celebrate the achievement. They and their coaches supported each other through the pandemic year and considered themselves a “Moot Court family,” said Toni Young (’76), longtime leader of the program.
“Everybody wants to make your family proud, so there was a lot of ‘everybody’s in this together’ and ‘we all want the best for each other,’” Young said. “It worked for this pandemic year because people were seeking community, a place to belong.”
The silver lining of an all-remote competition season was that it allowed alumni from around the country to get involved without leaving their living rooms. Young approached the nearly 2,000 Moot Court alumni to recruit judges as well as coaches to help mentor and prepare each student for effective appellate representation at competition.
Coach Thuy Thi Nguyen (’16), an associate at Reed Smith, said it was difficult not being in person to recite lines or provide comfort after a rocky round. But the payoff was worth the heartache when the team she coached – 2Ls Hannah Becker, Magdalene Bedi and Tammy Vu – brought home UC Hastings’ first-ever national championship at the Chicago Bar Association Moot Court Competition.
“I am proud to have had the privilege of coaching these soon-to-be attorneys, alongside coach Jesse Sanchez, and I have no doubt that they will continue to be fierce and passionate advocates in each of their respective careers,” Nguyen said.
Thanks in part to the generosity of Moot Court alumni, team members received T-shirts that read “Hastings Moot Court #1: Zooming to the Top” and “The Quaranteam” to boost team spirit in the virtual environment.
The UC Hastings Moot Court team has consistently ranked among the top 10 for three decades. In 2017 it was named the No. 2 Moot Court Team of the Decade, having placed first or second many times. In Fall 2020, the team retook its #1 title and kept it through the end of the school year.
Competition winners who contributed to the No. 1 ranking for the 2020-21 school year are:
- First Place National Champions, Chicago Bar Association Moot Court Competition: 2Ls Tammy Vu, Hannah Becker, and Magdalene Bedi
- First Place National Champions, Evan A. Evans Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition: 2Ls Nathan Guerrero and Nikayla Johnson
- First Place National Champions, Hispanic National Bar Association Moot Court Competition: 2Ls Karla Martinez, Adriana Castro, and Viridiana Ordonez
- Second Place National Finalists, Appellate Lawyers Association Moot Court Competition: 2Ls Maddie Thomas and Alexander Vicas
- National Semifinalists, UC Davis Asylum & Refugee Law Moot Court Competition: 2Ls Hunter Morrissey and Grace Johnson
- National Semifinalists, Hassell National Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition: 3Ls CJ Connolly and Michael Guan
- National Semifinalists, Herbert Wechsler Criminal Law Moot Court Competition: 3L Justine Jung and 2L Nathan Nelson
- National Semifinalists, Jeffrey G. Miller National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition: 3L Ada Shao and 2Ls Katie Romero and Julia Pilkington
- National Semifinalists, National Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition: 3L Demiana Khoury and 2L Trevor Weitzenberg
- National Semifinalists, National Veterans Law Moot Court Competition: 3L Hayden Soria and 2L John Paul
- National Semifinalists, William B. Spong Jr. Invitational Moot Court Tournament: 3Ls Demiana Khoury, Michael Guan, and Melissa Rake
- National Quarterfinalists, Chicago Bar Association Moot Court Competition: 2Ls Katharine Waters, Alexandra Tuchman, and Alexander Norton
- National Quarterfinalists, Domenick L. Gabrielli Family law Moot Court Competition: 2Ls Sarah Case, Kate Bredenberg, and David Kempen
- National Quarterfinalists, Emory Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition: 3L Hannah Diamond and 2Ls Nikayla Johnson and Nathan Guerrero
- National Quarterfinalists, Irving R. Kaufman Securities Law Moot Court Competition: 3L Jesse Sanchez and 2Ls Margaret Curran and An Le
- National Quarterfinalists, National Health Law Moot Court Competition: 2Ls Nicole Aston, Brandon Hupka, and Kara Flageollet
- National Quarterfinalists, Robert F. Wagner National Labor and Employment Law Moot Court Competition: 2Ls Zhi Yang Tan and Maddie Thomas
In addition to the strong alumni support this year, Young said she was thankful for the hard work and dedication of student co-chairs Madison Boucher, Justine Jung, and Kimberly Macey. The co-chairs recently announced the #1 ranking with a message on the team’s Instagram page: “We have all the confidence in the world that next year’s team will continue the Hastings winning legacy.”