Moot Court Board members claim top honors at contest

Moot Court Board members participated in the National Veterans Law Moot Court Competition. From left: Christopher Gieger, Sean Mullen, Judge Michael Allen, Christopher Odgers, and Vasilios Zimarakos.

Moot Court Board members took Best Team and Best Oralist in the National Veterans Law Moot Court Competition at George Washington University Law School, in Washington, D.C., Nov. 1-3, 2019.

Not only did Stetson win, but two Stetson teams faced off against each other in the semifinal round! The participants were Sean Mullen, Christopher Odgers, Vasilios Zimarakos, and Christopher Gieger.

Vasilios Zimarakos won Best Oralist, and Sean Mullen and Christopher Odgers were named Best Team.

Twenty-one teams from around the nation—including strong advocacy schools and those with veterans projects or clinics, such as Baylor, Brooklyn, George Mason, University of Denver, and Widener—participated in the competition. 

Timely topics

The topics were cutting edge. In fact, the second issue, which Sean Mullen and Christopher Gieger argued, was whether there a constitutional due process violation when one Veterans Law Judge presided over the veteran’s hearing and found him credible and a different Veterans Law Judge adjudicated his appeal and denied the claim based on a lack of credibility. This question was argued at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) in just the last two months. 

Stetson teams argued in front of attorneys and judges, including Stetson’s very own, Judge Michael Allen, who all had expertise in veterans law. The victories add to a trove of Stetson trophies outside the CAVC, giving the school five Best Team plaques, eight Best Brief awards, and five Best Oralist wins.

Professor Stacey-Rae Simcox, director of the Veterans Law Institute and Veterans Advocacy Clinic, and Professor Brooke J. Bowman, director of Moot Court Board and interim Law Library director, coached this year’s winning teams.

About Veterans Law Institute

Stetson has a dedicated Veterans Law Institute that serves as a center for student veterans and pro bono service for members of the military and veterans. To date, the Veterans Law Clinic has helped clients receive over $1.7 million in back benefits the VA owed them, and their future benefits total more than $19 million. Each year, Stetson Law students contribute over 3,500 pro bono hours helping veterans with their legal needs.