UNC School of Law Students Crowned National Champions at Herbert Wechsler National Criminal Law Moot Court Competition

March 23, 2024

Grace Roberts and Josh Jacobs, 2L students at the University of North Carolina School of Law, have been crowned national champions at the Herbert Wechsler National Criminal Law Moot Court Competition, held at the University of Buffalo School of Law on March 15-16, 2024.

The team not only took home the top prize but also made a clean sweep with Roberts ’25 earning the Best Advocate Award. This incredible achievement is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and skill of these talented students.

The Wechsler Competition is the only national moot court in the United States to focus on topics in substantive criminal law, while addressing the constitutionality and interpretation of federal and state criminal statutes as well as general issues in the doctrine of federal and state criminal law.

Josh Jacobs, Professor Scardulla, and Grace Roberts pose with their first place award

“Winning one of these advocacy competitions is an incredibly difficult task that requires rigorous preparation and a little bit of luck,” said Clinical Professor Annie Scardulla. Roberts and Jacobs submitted a brief and competed in a series of oral arguments, advancing out of the preliminary rounds into the semifinals where they faced off against the reigning champions from NYU. The Carolina Law team emerged victorious and went on to claim the top spot in the finals.

The team’s success is a reflection of the strong advocacy skills they have developed through their coursework and extracurricular activities at Carolina. Professors Jain and Kennedy provided invaluable support by mooting with the team, while Professor Everett‘s appellate advocacy instruction in the fall laid the groundwork for their success. The Holderness Board and Emily Shuman also played a crucial role in handling logistics and ensuring the team’s safe travel.

This victory is just one of the many remarkable achievements of UNC School of Law’s moot court teams this competition season. With two national championships, a regional championship, three top-three finishes, and individual awards, the school’s advocacy program is experiencing one of its best years yet. These successes showcase the exceptional talent and dedication of UNC School of Law students and the strength of the school’s advocacy program. As students continue to excel in competitions across the country, they demonstrate the impact of the faculty and staff’s commitment to their success and set a high bar for excellence in legal education.