LC Law students, Price and Bolte, surge to the semi-finals of the National Energy Law Moot Court competition
Lewis & Clark Law students, Meg Price (’22) and Chris Bolte (’21), advanced to the semi-finals of the National Energy & Sustainability Moot Court (Energy Law Moot Court) competition in spring 2021. The students won their places on the team through participation in the intra-class competition in the Environmental Law Advocacy course taught by Professor Craig Johnston. This was the first year of competition for Lewis & Clark students in the Energy Law Moot Court, and their success is a result of a strong work ethic and ability to work under pressure in addition to the limits imposed by the pandemic.
Price and Bolte stated that the Environmental Advocacy class had many strong competitors for spots on the Pace Environmental Moot Court last year, and Professor Johnston suggested that the two students compete in the Energy Law Moot Court. The competition is hosted by the West Virginia College of Law, and includes teams from more than 25 law schools. Neither student had a deep background in energy law, but committed to preparing a brief in response to a 29 page energy law hypothetical. Price focused on constitutional issues and Bolte took on the regulatory issues. With the brief due in February and the need to keep social distance due to the pandemic, the two exchanged draft briefs via google docs, and zoomed twice a day.
Once the brief was filed, Price and Bolte started a series of 30 plus practice rounds of oral argument. These practice rounds were overseen — and many were judged — by Professor Johnston and Denise Saunders, a former Assistant General Counsel at Portland General Electric. Other judges for the practice rounds included Lewis & Clark Law professors Melissa Powers, Dan Rohlf, John Parry, as well as a broad cast of supportive moot court alums and energy law practitioners. Collectively, all of these judges helped the team prepare through numerous practice rounds, all of which were virtual. The students took turns arguing various sides of the issues related to the hypothetical.
Price and Bolte – competing via zoom - advanced to the semi-final rounds and lost to the University of Utah team which ended up winning the competition. Both students said that the Environmental Advocacy class and the moot court competition were some of the most valuable experiences they had in law school. Bolte commented on the outpouring of support from the faculty: “Lewis & Clark Law School is a great community. We were supported from day 1 with time, energy, and thoughtful input.” Price summed it up: ”It was a privilege to work alongside such talented oral advocates and to watch our team excel throughout the process.”
Professor Johnston lauded both the team’s incredible commitment and the caliber of the West Virginia competition. “It wound up being a great experience for both Meg and Chris. That’s because of the spirit, effort, and talent that both of them brought to bear. It’s also due to the fact that the competition featured an outstanding problem and was administered very well.”