Third-year students Dev Ranjan and Ethan Treacy won the 94th William Minor Lile Moot Court Competition at the University of Virginia School of Law on Tuesday.

The appellees bested fellow classmates Sophia Evans and Riley Segars, the appellants, to take home the Kingdon Moot Court Prize.

In addition, Treacy won the Stephen Pierre Traynor Award for best oralist. All four finalists received the James M. Shoemaker Jr. Moot Court Award.

Presiding over the competition were U.S. appeals court Judges Ralph R. Erickson of the Eighth Circuit and John B. Nalbandian ’94 of the Sixth Circuit, and Professor Leslie Kendrick ’06, who substituted for Judge Debra A. Livingston of the Second Circuit, who was unable to attend.

This year’s scenario was based on two questions arising from the apparent murder of an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent during a drug deal. The first question focused on a defendant’s rights to cross-examine a witness under the Confrontation Clause of the Constitution. The second question focused on the statutory interpretation of the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act in cases where the victim is deceased.

Held annually, the competition starts with a field of about 50 individual competitors, who write briefs and argue student-written problems in a mock federal or state appeal. Students form two-person teams upon advancing to the quarterfinal round.

In preparation for the competition, Ranjan and Treacy met regularly to provide extensive feedback on each other’s work and pore over every word and punctuation mark in their materials.

“We tried to be our own harshest critics,” Ranjan said. They continued to make minute changes to their arguments up to the final hour.

“It was not unusual for us to spend 10 to 12 hours together in a day, going through our brief line by line,” Treacy said. “For oral argument, not only were we mooted by incredible classmates who grilled us with deep and biting questions, but we supplemented that by mooting each other on a near-daily basis.”

Ranjan and Treacy met on a hike before their 1L classes began and reconnected later as members of the Virginia Law Review editorial board. They paired up after the Lile board released the list of competitors for the quarterfinals.

Ranjan said he quickly came to realize how lucky he was to have Treacy as a partner. Both were grateful for their classmates who were willing to help them hone their argument.

“I can’t thank our friends enough who took the time to moot us and provide us with critical feedback — those sessions made a huge difference,” Ranjan said. “For both the brief and the argument, I have also found it really helpful to seek out examples of people who I think write and argue really well, figure out what about their performance really strikes me and then try to emulate it.”

Treacy said working with his teammate will make him a better lawyer.

“Competing in Lile has been one of the most useful and educational experiences of law school. And that’s mostly because of the opportunity to work with Dev, who is a fantastically talented advocate and has an incredibly sharp legal mind,” Treacy said.

After graduation, Ranjan will clerk for Judge Toby Heytens ’00 of the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. Judge Jesse Furman of the Southern District of New York. Treacy will work at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C.

In addition to the Lile Moot Court Competition, UVA Law students also compete in other appellate moot court and trial advocacy competitions nationwide.

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.

Media Contact