group of students

The winning Best Advocates team from the William S. Richardson School of Law (photo courtesy of the School of Law)

For the third straight year in a row, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law students won first place in the best overall category, Best Advocates, at the National Native American Law Students Association’s 21st Annual Moot Court Competition held this past weekend at Lewis and Clark College of Law in Portland, Oregon.

The students also earned first place awards in the Best Oralist and Best Legal Brief categories as well. The primary focus of the competition is federal Indian law. To date, the William S. Richardson School of Law has captured a total of 33 awards at this competition in its 21-year history.

“We’re proud of our students’ hard work and we’re excited about their consistent performance each year,” said Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie, a UH Mānoa law professor and a faculty advisor who accompanied the team to Portland.

“Our success was a team effort and we’re thankful for the support we received from the law school and the legal community in preparation for the competition,” said Team Captain Elika Otoya-Stimpson.

The first place Best Advocates award was earned by third year law students Caycie Gusman and Catherine Hall. Hall also won the first place Best Oralist award. Third year law student, Zachary Di Ionno and his second year law student partner Sommerset Wong won first place Best Legal Brief. Last year, Gusman and Hall also argued in the final round against another Hawaiʻi team and earned second place Best Advocates.

“It was a great experience. The people were great. The competition was a lot tougher this year,” said Hall.

For more information, visit the competition website

Adapted from a UH Mānoa news release

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