CCR Team Performs Well in National Moot Court Competition

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Three Fellows from the Center for Children’s Rights — Athena Maldonado, Sonia Okoreeh, and Catherine Hegdale — recently participated in the National Moot Court Competition in Child Welfare & Adoption Law at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio. The brief from the Whittier Law School team was ranked 4th place out of 26, an impressive honor. The team made it to the octo-finals in the competition before being narrowly eliminated by a team that had one of the top 10 oralists in the entire competition.

According to Professor Jennifer Mertus, the team’s coach, “Time after time in the judges’ feedback following the rounds, the team was praised for their superior knowledge of the record and the law surrounding the issues at hand. Their dedication, professionalism, and preparedness were outstanding and they represented Whittier well.”

Alumni Nicole Williams and Leslie Barry, County Counsel Aurelio Torre, and student coach Michelle Leverton also assisted in preparing the team for this competition.

This year’s problem focused on the complex issues involving revocation of voluntary relinquishment of parental rights in the face of a looming involuntary termination proceeding, and appointment of independent counsel for the child in the termination proceedings. Impressive judges included representatives from the National Association of Counsel for Children, American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, National Association of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and the ABA Center on Children and the Law.

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