A Glimpse at the Competitors

BY ADINA LEVINE

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Paul Wellstone Memorial team: (Petitioner)

Rob Velevis hails from Dallas, Texas where he graduated from the University of Texas. He plans to go back to Dallas next year when he will work for Weil, Gotshal, and Manges in Dallas. “I’m somewhat nervous about the outcome,” he admits, “but there’s going to be much more anxiety and pressure when we’re in the real world with a client who’s going to be dramatically affected by the outcome of the litigation.”

Josh Kelner, from Old Westbury, New York will be working next summer at Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel, a medium sized firm in New York. He decided to do the Ames competition when Chris Monsour turned to him during a Friday night out at a bar and said, “Wanna do Ames?”

Sarah Baumgartel grew up in New Jersey, though her parents now live in Texas. She plans to clerk next year in Philadelphia and then work at Akin Gump in New York. One of the most important things she learned from Moot Court is “the difference between “that” and “which” and that there are actually people in the world who would rather write “so to hold” than split an infinitive.”

Anna Lumelsky, originally from Madison, Wisconsin will be clerking next year for Judge Patti Saris on the Massachusetts District Court. “I’m not yet sure what type of law I’d like to practice,” says Lumelsky, “but Ames has certainly gotten me interested in appellate litigation.”

Christopher Monsour of Ormond Beach, Florida will be working next summer at Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, a large firm in Chicago, before clerking for Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain (9th Cir.) in Portland, Oregon. “I became interested in the Ames competition for the simple reason that legal writing and argument are fun,” he said.

Nels Peterson from Atlanta, Georgia is working next year for King & Spalding, a firm in Atlanta. When not working on Ames, he is actively involved in the Federalist Society and the Journal of Law and Public Policy. “I was first interested in Ames when I watched it as a 1L from an overflow room, which is definitely more fun than the courtroom,” he said.

The John Rawls Memorial Team: (Respondent)

Scott Michelman, from the suburbs of Washington D.C. plans clerking next year on the 9th Circuit, before doing civil rights litigation or teaching. “I was honored to be selected to join the Rawls Team as one of the two members added for the semifinal round,” he remarks. “This has been an incredible opportunity to work with some of the most innovative minds at the law school on fascinating and novel legal issues.”

Chris Pistilli grew up in New York City and hopes to teach law “someday.” He will be clerking for Judge Kearse on the Second Circuit in Manhattan next year. “Moot court is a great opportunity to engage in a very different type of research and writing from the more academic style to which I am more accustomed,” he said. “It’s also a great opportunity to work collaboratively with a talented group of folks, all of whom bring unique skills and perspectives to the table.”

Aaron Katz is from Tucson, AZ. “I’ve learned how to feel comfortable critiquing the weak points of my arguments,” he explains. “Doing that is a pretty scary thing, but in Ames you learn that it is better to confront and deal with your argument’s weaknesses as opposed to having the judges expose the fact that you’ve never thought about them at all.”

Geoffrey Wyatt, Rawls Team captain, said “the most important lesson has been the value of being able to work with a group of extremely intelligent people in attacking a legal problem. The product that emerges is of a quality that is far greater than anything any one of us could have achieved alone.”

Elizabeth Oyer was awarded best oralist.

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