Winning It All

Two women stand smiling in front of a door labeled "THE CENTER FOR CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS," with one holding a certificate.
Anne Mari Petrino and Meghan Conlin

October 18, 2023
Gonzaga Law

Gender & Sexuality National Moot Court Competition

In March 2023, Gonzaga Law School’s Civil Rights & Liberties Moot Court Team took first place at Michigan State College of Law’s Gender & Sexuality National Moot Court Competition. Meghan Conlin and Anne Mari Petrino made for an unstoppable pair, winning all six oral advocacy competition rounds, including three consecutive elimination rounds, to win it all.

Gonzaga entered three teams of two in the competition, addressing timely and challenging legal issues. This year’s themes related to judicial recusal and competing interests under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and State’s Rights to ensure access to reproductive health care. The competition had 19 teams, with 38 law students from schools across the nation, including Notre Dame, Villanova, Seton Hall, Minnesota and Michigan State, among others.

With early appearances (5:30 a.m. PST) and three preliminary rounds on day one, all three teams represented Gonzaga School of Law well and each team received quality feedback and compliments from their panels of judges during each round.

Petrino and Conlin advanced to the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds on day two. The final round consisted of an esteemed panel of guest judges, highlighted by Judge Elizabeth L. Gleicher, chief judge of the Michigan Second District Court of Appeals; Professor Joan W. Howarth of Michigan State University College of Law; and Jay Kaplan, an LGBTQ+ Rights Project staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan.

“Ms. Conlin and Ms. Petrino were exceptional in the final round,” said Sarah Harmon (’13 J.D.), director of the Lincoln LGBTQ+ Rights Clinic at Gonzaga Law.

“They both demonstrated thorough knowledge of the facts, legal issues and case law and handled challenging questions from the panel of judges confidently. Despite tough opposition, their persuasive, passionate advocacy secured them first place in the competition.”

Alongside Harmon, local practitioner and adjunct professor Natasha Hill assists in coaching the teams, which included the following students for the 2022-23 academic year: Petrino and Conlin; Madisan Bryant and Courtney Bryson; and Amanda Lopez and Beth Phillips.

The Civil Rights & Liberties Moot Court Team returns three students for next year’s competition as they look to defend their title.

Students Demonstrate Trademark Law Acumen in National Lefkowitz Competition

In March, Team Practical (Emily Martin, Whitney Wakefield, Meghan Hoerger and Kathryn Handick) spent their spring break competing in the final rounds of the 2023 Saul Lefkowitz Trademark Moot Court Competition in Washington, D.C. Their first day in the Capitol was spent planning; some of the students took a tour of the Supreme Court. The second day included a grueling cram session at the D.C. offices of our gracious host, Polsinelli, PC. The students were surprised by a visit from Phil Hampton III, a current Polsinelli practitioner and the former assistant commissioner of trademarks at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, appointed by President Bill Clinton. On the final day, Team Practical competed against students from the United States’ top trademark programs, including Yale, Emory, Notre Dame and UCLA.

A group of five individuals proudly posing in a grand hall, with one holding a certificate, next to an American flag.
Ethan Vodde (’16 J.D.), Emily Martin, Whitney Wakefield, Kathryn Handick and Meghan Hoerger.

“I’m pleased to report that Wakefield, arguing without notes, was praised for her quick ability to handle all questions with case law,” said coach Ethan Vodde (’16 J.D.). “Hoerger received admiration for her deft command of the summary judgment standard. Handick’s knowledge of the relevant record was described as masterful. And Martin delivered a rebuttal that was so precise and timely it could only have been achieved through diligent study and psychic powers. Though Gonzaga did not win any prizes, the students can hold their heads high as competing at a phenomenal level.”

Gonzaga Law Adjunct Professor Vodde applauded his students for their unrivaled dedication. They relentlessly practiced and studied the tenets of trademark law, and it paid dividends.

“These students are truly rising stars of the profession,” Vodde said. “One day I will proudly point to some news article and say, ‘I knew her when she was in law school.’ ”

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