Lovell and Bilhartz Combine Contrasting Styles to Win 86th Lile Moot Court Competition
One has the thoughtful manner of a law clerk. The other possesses the engaging style of an advocate. University of Virginia School of Law students Trevor Lovell and Nate Bilhartz combined their contrasting, yet complementary approaches to win the school's 86th annual William Lile Moot Court Competition on April 18.
The third-year law students defeated classmates Brett Rector and Rhett Ricard in an appeals court simulation that involved criminal restitution.
"The great thing about working with Trevor is that he comes up with arguments that are unexpected, that are inventive, that the judges find very surprising and persuasive," Bilhartz said.
"Nate has more of an advocate's style," Lovell said. "A stronger, sort of punchier style. And so it was helpful for me to get up there and do my bit, to do sort of a trust-building exercise with the judges, but Nate could always come in and bring it home."
Each year, the competition starts with a field of about 80 students in two-person teams, writing briefs and arguing student-written problems before a mock federal bench, which in later rounds includes actual state and federal judges. Over the course of the participants' second and third years, the field is whittled until two teams meet in a final round in April.
Bilhartz and Lovell, who are both University of Texas graduates, met as first-year students in UVA Law's Section B. They credited Professor Sarah Stewart Ware's Legal Research and Writing class with improving their ability to structure an argument, and said their extracurricular activities have also bolstered them. Lovell was last year's editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law Review and Bilhartz has performed every year in the Libel Show.
The final element that helped them win, they said, was lots and lots of work.
Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.