National Champions: Michigan State University Law Moot Court team takes top honors in competition


MSU Law Moot Court team consisting of, left to right, Ashley Chrysler, Crystal Bultje, and Ashley Byers, hold their awards after becoming national ABA champions.

Ashley Chrysler, Crystal Bultje, and Ashley Byers, 3L students at Michigan State University College of Law, reached the pinnacle of the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition, the largest moot court competition in the country, topping 202 teams representing 118 ABA-approved law schools.

The team went undefeated through regional rounds in Seattle and national rounds in Chicago with a combined 11-0 record and was named the national champion team over Texas Tech by a final-round panel that included U.S. District Court Judges Edmond E. Chang, John W. Darrah, Thomas M. Durkin, and John J. Tharp, Jr. The team was the top seed at the national competition after the preliminary rounds, and Chrysler received an award for ninth-place oralist.

Chrysler and Bultje represented the College of Law as oral advocates arguing both sides of a civil procedure issue involving (1) whether the denial of a motion to dismiss can be appealed after a favorable jury verdict for the plaintiff; and (2) the proper standard to review the sufficiency of allegations in a Title VII employment discrimination complaint. All three students contributed to the competition brief, which accounted for one-third of the team’s score in preliminary rounds.

The team was co-coached by Professors Jennifer Copland and Phil Pucillo, who offered coaching in both skills and substance.

MSU Law last reached the finals of the ABA Appellate Advocacy Competition in 2004 and last won the competition in 1993.

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