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Moot Courters Participate in the Giles Sutherland Memorial Competition

March 25, 2015

By Mahsa Kashkooly, 2L, Moot Court Social Chair

On March 12th-15th, Pamela Rivera and Sean Russell competed in the Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Moot Court Competition in Palo Alto, CA. This year’s problem was based on Patent Law and covered claim construction and publication and required the competitors to prepare briefs as both the Appellant and Appellee. As challenging as that was, it was not the only challenge that Rivera and Russell would face. Three days before their briefs were due, the Supreme Court issued an opinion in Teva Pharmaceuticals v. Sandoz, with its decision directly affecting the arguments of the competitors. Nevertheless, the teams hard work and diligence helped them to succeed in the competition.

Rivera and Russell ranked 3rd in their first round of oral arguments coming neck to neck with University of Pennsylvania in a very close round.

When asked about her experience as a Moot Court member, Rivera quoted Jerry Seinfeld, “A recent survey stated that the average person’s greatest fear is having to give a speech in public. Somehow this ranked even higher than death which was third on the list. So, you’re telling me that at a funeral, most people would rather be the guy in the coffin than have to stand up and give a eulogy.” Rivera went on to explain that she used to be the statistic in that she too feared public speaking more than anything else. However, with the help of Moot Court and competitions such as Giles S. Rich, Rivera has not only conquered her fear but also turned it into a passion as she currently serves as the President of the Moot Court Honor Society.

Russell on the other hand shared different sentiments. For Russell the competition was more about personal growth. He said, “The best part about working with our team was the various approaches we took during our preparation.  Pamela was extremely diligent and timely with our practices and we managed to meet every goal and deadline we set for ourselves. I was also able to reflect on my own flaws and grow because I had a wonderful team supporting me.” Russell was additionally grateful for Professor Brenda Simon and the several Intellectual Property Fellows who provided crucial feedback to the team at their practices.

Additionally, Michelle Ribaudo who served as the teams coach, stated, “Both Pam and Sean were extremely dedicated to this competition and as the Coach of this competition, I was able to watch both competitors grow and improve from beginning to the end. The most rewarding part of the competition was receiving the email stating that Pam and Sean were advancing to the semi-finals, making all the time, hard work, and stress completely worth it!”

As Russell said, “The old saying “hard work pays off” is certainly true with Moot Court Competitions and I realized the more work put in during the early stages will make the finishing touches much easier.”

Most importantly, the team learned the important of having a strong network of individual willing to dedicate their time. With Russell hoping that one day he can help other Moot Competitors succeed just as his teammates have helped him.