Monday, March 30, 2015

Our law students dominated the mooting season this year with back-to-back successes in many competitions, thanks to the hard work of an amazing trifecta of student skill and faculty and alumni support.

Kicking off the list of first place finishes was the National Labour Arbitration Moot, followed by the Wilson, Diversity, Gale Cup, Callaghan, Laskin, Corporate Securities, Walsh Family Law, Arnup Cup, Environmental Law and Commonwealth Moots.

Law students also did exceptionally well in the consensus-based Kawaskimhon Aboriginal Rights Moot, and placed well in the Fox Intellectual Property, Jessup International Law, Sopinka, Winkler Class Actions and Donald G. H. Bowman National Tax Moots.

“I am very proud of our law school's outstanding performance in this year’s moots," says Dean Ed Iacobucci. "The students at this Faculty of Law are remarkably talented and dedicated, and our mooting success this year is a further illustration of their gifts. But even they cannot do it alone, and the results are also testament to the wonderful community that is this law school, with invaluable support coming from other student coaches and mentors, faculty advisors, and top-notch legal practitioners.”

Here are the results of the 2015 Mooting competitions, updated with each win:

Commonwealth Moot

Thanks to its win in the Gale Cup, the University of Toronto went on to argue in the Commonwealth Moot at Glasgow, Scotland in April. 

Only two members of our Gale team could form the team for the CLEA moot, and Samuel Greene and Ada Keon were picked through the equitable method of drawing names from a hat.  Joseph Bricker was our alternate and Ethan Schiff acted as a coach.  The infinitely talented Karen Bellinger (Downtown Legal Services) and Michael Dineen (Dawe Dineen) continued in their roles as Advisors to the team.

Teams from around the world, including Kenya, South Africa, India, and Australia, competed in the moot.  The preliminary rounds were held on Monday and Tuesday (April 13 and 14).  Our team finished the preliminary rounds as the only undefeated team.

On Wednesday, we competed in a semi-final against South Africa and came through with a victory.  The finals were to be heard only 4 hours later, against Australia.  The team demonstrated that it had become an astonishingly well-oiled machine, with all four students contributing research and input in re-formulating arguments in response to those of Australia.

The finals were closely fought with U of T eking out a victory.  Our mooters were roundly praised by all of the Judges, with Sam winning best oralist for the final round.  All in all, it was a very proud week for UofT.

Environmental Law Moot

Grace Smith, Serin Remedios, Chris Wong (our 3 mooters) with Supreme Court of Canada Justice Andromache Karakatsanis
L-R: Environmental Law Mooters Grace Smith, Serin Remedios, and Chris Wong
with Supreme Court of Canada Justice Andromache Karakatsanis

On March 7, U of T's Environmental Law Moot team, consisting of Serin RemediosGrace Smith and Chris Wong emerged triumphant after a rigorous and highly competitive day of mooting at the Willms & Shier Environmental Law Moot. The team won first place overall, with Chris Wong taking home a distinguished oralist award and Serin Remedios winning top oralist. 

The problem involved a tremendously complex case, which considered whether a small business owner could sue in nuisance for economic disruptions to her business as a result of the construction of Vancouver's Canada Line, a rail link connecting downtown Vancouver to Vancouver International Airport. The team argued whether the construction method selected for the Canada Line created a nuisance and whether the government established the defence of statutory authority.

The team performed amazingly well throughout the entire day. Grace, who argued both the Appellant and Respondent sides of the nuisance arguments, mooted a remarkable four times in one day, and was praised by Justice Karakatsanis in the final round for her poise and ability to skillfully and adeptly answer tough questions. Chris, who represented the team in the important semi-final round, was commended for his composure and grasp of the case law. Serin, who argued the Appellants side with Grace in the final round, was praised by the justices for her excellent responses and for her outstanding Appellant's right of reply.

The team wishes to express its thanks for the support and instruction of their U of T student coaches, Lauren Harper and Jennifer Bates and for the mentorship of their excellent practitioner advisors: Travis Allan, Laura Zizzo, and articling student Joanna Kyriakis, all of of Zizzo Allan DeMarco LLP.

2015 Willms & Shier Environmental Law Moot from Patricia Izumi Van Rooyen on Vimeo.

Donald G. H. Bowman National Tax Moot

On February 27 and 28, Taylor CaoEmily GilmourShavone Hayes and Fraser Malcolm represented U of T in the 2015 Donald G. H. Bowman National Tax Moot. 

The problem concerned the deductibility of losses to an email fraud, in which a Calgary-based lawyer was duped out of $400,000. The participants made arguments on the impact of fraud on whether a source of business income existed, and whether the amount of expense was reasonable. 

The team performed exceptionally well before panels that included Federal Court of Appeal and Tax Court of Canada justices, as well as some of the country's top tax litigators. It was almost unanimously agreed that the team of Fraser and Shavone was unscathed in their two hearings. Taylor and Emily advanced to the semi-finals as one of the top two Appellant teams, where they argued before former Chief Justice of the Tax Court of Canada, the eponymous Justice Donald Bowman. 

The participants were more than ably supported by their student coaches (and 2014 Bowman Moot champions) Kyle Gerow and Chad PilkingtonMartha Macdonald and Al-Nawaz Nanji (Osler) were the team's moot advisors, and provided excellent support and guidance throughout. Professor Ben Alarie was the team's faculty advisor and provided sage advice on the impact of fraud in tax cases. 

Three Tax-Exempt Cheers all around!

Kawaskimhon Aboriginal Rights Moot

Congratulations to the two U of T teams who participated in the National Kawaskimhon Aboriginal Rights Moot this year.  Third year students Aurora Curtis, Shardae Fortier, Danielle Muise, and Nicole Sylvester travelled to Fredericton, New Brunswick to engage in Duty to Consult discussions with the goal of securing a seat at the table for their client, a small First Nation adversely affected by the Crown's proposed development project.  Both teams fought strongly, and succeeded in negotiating proposals that did not compromise their clients’ interests.

Our teams were tasked with extremely difficult positions for which they advocated long and hard. The team's coaches, Professors Douglas Sanderson, Bryce Edwards (Olthius Kleer Townshend and Adjunct Professor) and Promise Holmes Skinner (Aboriginal Law Program Coordinator) are proud of the teams’ dedication to their positions over three long and challenging days. 

The Kawaskimhon requires participants to build a consensus, which our students achieved brilliantly.  Congratulations to all four of them!

Arnup Cup and Sopinka Cup

The University of Toronto competed in the Arnup Cup, the one trial level mooting competition, at the beginning of February.  Two teams were sent to represent the University of Toronto: Christina Galbraith, Elizabeth Gjata, Alana Pasut, and Leah Sherriff defended the accused, Thomas Pellerin, against an attempted murder charge where the main issue was the identity of the shooter.  Both teams did extremely well.  Alana and Elizabeth came in first place to win the Arnup Cup, and went on to represent Ontario in the Sopinka Cup, the national competition.  

In the national competition, which took place last week in Ottawa, Alana and Elizabeth had to switch sides and prosecute the accused.  The quality of their advocacy and the way they conducted themselves with class and civility against McGill made them a wonderful team to represent the University of Toronto.  Elizabeth won the award for best opening statement.

The two teams would like to thank their coaches, Jonathan Shime and Megan Schwartzentruber (both ofCooper Sandler, Shime & Bergman),  and Lisa Friedland, for the hours of work they put in, meeting with their individual teams multiple times a week for multiple hours each time, to improve their advocacy skills.  Their guidance and experience was invaluable.​

Walsh Family Law Moot

Walsh Moot 2015
Walsh Moot team: Sarah Young and Martha McCarthy, (Faculty Advisors) Petra Molnar Diop,  Amy Tang,
Rachel Kattapuram, and Graham Thompson, (Mooters), Carol Rogerson (Faculty Advisor),
Paloma van Groll and Colleen McKeown (student coaches)

U of T Law had another year of great success at the Walsh Family Law Moot.   U of T, represented by Rachel Kattapuram, Petra Molnar Diop, Amy Tang, and Graham Thomson came in first overall.  Graham was named top oralist (with a perfect score!)  Rachel and Amy tied with Manitoba for best respondents’ factum.

The team made submissions before the Supreme Moot Court of Canada on two thorny issues of property division under the Family Law Act:  (1) the valuation of fixed debts under bankruptcy, and (2) the court's power to set aside a single, mistaken provision of a settlement agreement.

The team attributes its success to the tireless support and dedication of its coaches and supervisors who really went above and beyond. The four mooters give their heartfelt thanks to: Colleen McKeown, Brenna Staats, Paloma Van Groll (student coaches); Martha McCarthy and Sarah Young (Mooting Advisors, both of Martha McCarthy & Co.) and Professor Carol Rogerson.

For the first time the Family Law Moot included a Negotiation component.  Christophe Shammas and Aoife Quinn comprised our negotiation team and did very well in their pioneering role. 

Winkler Class Actions Moot

At the Winkler Class Actions Moot, the U of T team, Shaanzéh Ataullahjan, Tatiana Emanuel, Brittany Tovee, and Aryan Ziaie, performed extremely well. Aryan was named best oralist and Brittany won the third place oralist award.

The case involved the certification of a complex securities class action which all four mooters adeptly handled. Judges throughout commented on Aryan's sophistication, Shaanzéh's coolness, Tatiana's knowledge and Brittany's spirit.

This is only the second year U of T has participated in the Winkler moot. The team did a lot of learning on the fly. The team are extremely grateful for the support of their student coaches, third year students Kathleen Elhatton-Lake and Danny Urquhart. The team also thanks their advisors Michael Eizenga (Bennett Jones) and Professor Simon Stern.

Corporate Securities Moot

U of T’s Corporate Securities Mooters brought home another trophy for the Faculty.  Gabe Edelson, Gideon Kwinter, Joe McGrade, and Aron Nimani won First Place Team, and both First Place Factums.  Gabe was named First Place Oralist.

The problem featured a proxy battle between a New York-based hedge fund and a Canadian prison management corporation. The issues were the validity of and compliance with an advance notice by-law, as well as the validity of an annual meeting postponement and whether or not the shareholder illegally solicited proxies. Gideon and Gabe were our team’s representatives in the finals, and they argued against talented mooters from the University of Calgary. The final arguments were judged by Robert Sharpe and Gloria Epstein of the Court of Appeal, former SCC Justice Ian Binnie, Monica Kowal of the Ontario Securities Commission, and Paul Crampton of the Federal Court. 

Success like that doesn’t come easily, and the team was well served by student coaches Jim Robson and Kathleen Elhatton-Lake, mooting advisor Andrew Matheson (McCarthys), and Professor Anita Anand.

Jessup International Law Moot

The national Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition was held earlier this month in Halifax. The U of T team, Drew Beesley, James Rendell, Sarah Stothart, and Daniel Yip team did very well.  James and Drew won 4th place for their Memorial. Daniel won 5th best overall oralist and Sarah was named 7th best overall oralist.

‎Faculty Advisor Patrick Macklem worked with the team on their memorial.  Faculty Advisor, Maureen Whelton (Stevenson, Whelton) told me, “the Jessup requires a staggering amount of work on the part of the students and all [four students] put everything they had into the competition.  The law school should be very proud of them. I was.” 

Ms. Whelton also commented on student coach, Leah Sherriff, “our team would not have done as well as they did without Leah's guidance and direction. She was invaluable to me and to the team from day one.” 

Ms. Whelton’s final observation:  “I was privy to dozens of comments about how friendly and pleasant our team was. At least three coaches told me that our team was the “nicest” team that they competed against.  I am a very active member of the litigation bar in Toronto and I see the decline in professionalism and courtesy. After what I saw this weekend I can attest to the fact that U of T is not contributing to that problem.”

Laskin Moot

Laskin Moot 2015: Leanna Katz, Rebecca Schwartz, Bilal Manji, and Dave Marshall, with Justice Robert Decary
Laskin Moot: Leanna Katz, Rebecca Schwartz, Bilal Manji, and Dave Marshall, with Justice Robert Decary

The Laskin Mooters, Leanna Katz, Bilal Manji, David Marshall, and Rebecca Schwartz won first prize the weekend of March 7-8.  Their remarkable performances at the Quebec Court of Appeal in Montreal allowed them to bring home the titles of top school overall, top finalist pair (Leanna Katz and David Marshall), top oralist (David Marshall), and both second-place factums (all participants).

Bilal and Rebecca made their case expertly with poise, and enthralled the judges with their submissions and responses to questions. Leanna and David went to the final round, where Leanna’s command of her submissions (in French ) was commended by the panel including Wagner J of the SCC.  The team had a fantastic time, and say it was an honour to represent U of T.

The team wants to thank the faculty for support throughout, and especially their two student coaches, Lauren Harper and Kat Owens, who, by all accounts, were phenomenal. They are also grateful to their advisors, Sarah Corman (McCarthys) and William McLarkey (MAG).

Callaghan Cup

Last week, after a tightly run two-day competition, the respondents Malini Vijaykumar and Kailey Sutton emerged victorious in the final round and won the Callaghan Cup, the Faculty of Law's internal moot competition. The competing appellant team in the final round was Enoch Guimond and John Paul Zeni. Malini also won the best oralist award. The best respondents’ factum award was awarded to Bettina Xue and Gledis RadaAlexander Eckler and Hilary Brown wrote the best appellant factum. 

Running the Callaghan is an enormous task, and a huge amount of that work was done by the three chairs:  third year students Matthey Morley, Bailey Rudnick, and Ethan Schiff.  Professor Hamish Stewart leads the group, together with a number of hardworking student coaches and volunteer lawyers and judges. 

Gale Cup

U of T’s Gale Cup Team, consisting of Joseph Bricker, Sam Greene, Ada Keon, and Ethan Schiff emerged triumphant after a hotly contested competition.  The problem this year involved the infrequently used defence of abandonment, the case of R. v. Gauthier.  Sam and Ada also won the third place factum prize.

As a result of their win, the team has been invited to represent Canada at the Commonwealth Moot in Glasgow, Scotland this spring!

The team was coached by Michael Dineen, of Dawe Dineen; Karen Bellinger, of Downtown Legal Services; and third year student Mark Coombes.

Fox Intellectual Property Moot

Fox Moot team: Sean Husband (student coach), Brandon Heard, Matt Cahill Rachel Charney, Brett Hughes (the four mooters) and Monical Grembowicz (student coach)
Fox Moot team: Sean Husband (student coach), Brandon Heard, Matt Cahill Rachel Charney, Brett Hughes
(the four mooters) and Monical Grembowicz (student coach)

The U of T Faculty of Law team enjoyed success at the Fox Intellectual Property Moot.  Matt Cahill, Rachel Charney, Brandon Heard, and Brett Hughes argued a case revolving around whether an Anton Piller Order (an order for a remedy based on “the right of the owners of valuable intellectual property assets to protect those assets from those whose business methods would put them beyond the effective reach of the usual procedures and remedies administered by the Court) was properly granted.  Rachel Charney and Brett Hughes made the finals, finished in the runner-up position, and were awarded the prize for the best appellant factum. 

The team’s success is due in large part to its coaches:  former Fox Mooters Monica Grembowicz and Sean Husband spent hours working with the mooters.  They were led by über-faculty advisors, Andy Shaughnessy (Torys) and Dominique Hussey (Bennett Jones).  Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard in the Fox this year!

Diversity Moot

The U of T Law team (Maya Bielinski, Nicole Wilkinson, Jeff Couse, and Andrew Ngo) won the Isaac Diversity Moot the weekend of Feb. 21-22.   To top it off, Maya was named best oralist, and Maya and Andrew were also named best appellant team. 

Our mooters were coached by two of last year’s competitors, Joseph Kalis and Alexandra Penny.  The team was led by first-time Mooting Advisor, Joseph Cheng, of the Department of Justice.

Mr. Cheng reported, “As is clear from the result, all the mooters brought their ‘A-game’ to the competition.  All four were consistently praised by the judges for being exceptionally well-prepared (with at times a seemingly photographic recall of the facts in the case and the jurisprudence), for having written excellent facta, and for demonstrating advocacy skills more in line with junior lawyers than with 2nd year law students.”

Wilson Moot

Christophe Shammas (student coach), Chloe Boubalos, Katherine Long, Debbie Boswell, Bradon Willms, Cheryl Milne (faculty coach), Aoife Quinn (student coach)Wilson Moot: Christophe Shammas (student coach), Chloe Boubalos, Katherine Long, Debbie Boswell,
Bradon Willms, Cheryl Milne (faculty coach), Aoife Quinn (student coach)

The U of T Wilson Moot Team, Debbie Boswell, Chloe Boubalos, Katherine Long, and Bradon Willms placed first overall in the Wilson Moot over the Feb. 21-22 weekend..  Katherine  and Bradon performed superbly in the final round before a challenging bench chaired by the Honourable Justice Karakatsanis of the Supreme Court of Canada.  U of T also won two oralist awards:  Katherinetied for first place and Debbie placed third.  The team also were part of a 3-way tie for first place facta.

All four of the students excelled in their oral advocacy in the rounds leading up to the final, placing first in total points.  The mooters were ably coached by two of last year’s Wilson Mooters, third year students Aoife Quinn and Christophe Shammas, and by the Executive Director of the Asper Centre, Cheryl Milne.  Please be sure to congratulate the members of this team for its outstanding work!

National Labour Arbitration Competition

First Mooting Coup of 2015! Congratulations to second-year students Hilary Grice and Alex Ognibene, who claimed the top prize at the National Labour Arbitration Competition.

The moot problem focused on a company's unilateral imposition of a random drug and alcohol testing policy in a safety-sensitive workplace. After arguing on behalf of both the union and the management sides in two round-robin sessions, the team advanced to the finals on Sunday.

In the championship round, they argued for management before a three-member panel that included Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell. Hilary was praised for her exceptional grasp of the facts and her effective, understated style. Likewise, Alex was commended for his cool and casual demeanour under fire from the panel. Their remarkable poise was lauded by many of the province's most experienced labour lawyers and arbitrators who were in the audience on Sunday. The moot was organized by Matthews Dinsdale & Clark LLP., and held at the Ontario Labour Relations Board. The team was coached by arbitrator Laura Trachuk and assistant coaches Jacob Brown and Dave Kumagai.