Chicago-Kent Wins the Runner-Up Best Brief Award at the 2019 Thomas Tang National Moot Court Competition

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Chicago-Kent team of Micah Fishman ’21 and Kevin LaBarge ’21 won the Runner-Up Best Brief Award and finished as quarterfinalists at the national finals of the 2019 Thomas Tang National Moot Court Competition, sponsored by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

Kevin LaBarge ’21 (left) and Micah Fishman ’21 won the Runner-Up Best Brief Award and finished as quarterfinalists at the national finals of the 2019 Thomas Tang National Moot Court Competition.
Kevin LaBarge ’21 (left) and Micah Fishman ’21 won the Runner-Up Best Brief Award and finished as quarterfinalists at the national finals of the 2019 Thomas Tang National Moot Court Competition.

“Micah and Kevin worked both tirelessly and enthusiastically on this problem, and their performance reflects it,” says Cherish Keller, interim director of the Ilana Diamond Rovner Program in Appellate Advocacy. “I was impressed by all their hard work, and I am grateful for the generosity of both our previous Thomas Tang competitors and everyone else who gave their time to judge the team’s practices.”

Sixteen teams competed in the national finals, held November 8 and 9 at the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Convention in Austin, Texas. The Chicago-Kent team was invited to the national competition as a wildcard team after finishing as semifinalists in the central regional tournament on October 19 at the Minnesota Judicial Center in St. Paul. This year, students argued a hypothetical case involving the prosecution of a U.S. citizen for knowingly harboring an undocumented immigrant. 

“Participating in the national finals, and representing our school, was a privilege and honor,” says Fishman. “It was very exciting to participate in an extracurricular activity with other law students from across the country and to take what we learned throughout legal writing and the preparation process to our best possible advantage.”

At the national competition, Fishman and LaBarge competed against William & Mary Law School (the eventual winner) and Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law in the preliminary rounds before facing Seton Hall Law School in the quarterfinals. 

“I was certain we wouldn't win any awards so when they called our names, I couldn't believe it.  Once what we had achieved sank in though, it honestly made the entire experience worth it,” says LaBarge.

Fishman graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies. LaBarge earned his bachelor’s degree in global studies from Providence College.  

Previous Thomas Tang competitor Noor Abdulmassih ’20 helped the team prepare, with help from Professor Katharine Baker, Professor Cherish Keller, and Chicago-Kent students Alexander Atkins ’20, Alek Biser ’20, Gina Cesario ’20, Eva Dickey ’20, Alexander Hartz ’20, Michelle Locascio ’21, Jamie Noonan ’20, and Chris Tuinenga ’21.

Sponsored by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Law Foundation, the competition is open to all students but is especially designed to provide Asian Pacific American law students with an opportunity to showcase their writing and oral advocacy skills.

The competition is named for the late Thomas Tang, a senior judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Judge Tang was a strong supporter of the bar association and its activities, including the creation of its moot court competition, which was renamed after his death in 1995.

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