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Schulich Law students dominate 2019 McKelvey Cup

Posted by Jane Doucet on February 22, 2019 in News, Students, Awards
Alicia Yowart (pictured) and Tamara Watson will compete in the Sopinka Cup in March.
Alicia Yowart (pictured) and Tamara Watson will compete in the Sopinka Cup in March.

The Schulich School of Law had its most successful outing ever at this year’s McKelvey Cup! The team not only won the moot but also took five of the other six awards for which it was eligible.

The McKelvey Cup, which took place on Feb. 15 and 16 at Université de Moncton’s Faculty of Law, is a trial moot in which students do a mock jury trial. Each student does a direct examination and a cross-examination, and either an opening or a closing statement. The competition is judged by a jury, which this year included The Honourable Pierrre Dupras of the Cour du Québec, John Buhlman from Weir Foulds, Lydia Bugden, chair of Stewart McKelvey, and nine others.

The Dalhousie Crown team of Tamara Watson and Alicia Yowart will represent Atlantic Canada in Ottawa at the Sopinka Cup in March (no law school has won the Sopinka Cup more often than Dal). The Dalhousie Defence team of Desmond Jung and Nicholas Foran placed third.

“Some of the best moments were spent watching our teammates in action,” says Watson. “We owe much of our success to the bright minds who challenged us in every practice.”

The secret to successful trial advocacy

In addition to the team win, Schulich Law captured four of five individual awards: Jung took the individual award for best direct examination; Yowart took the individual award for best opening statement; and Watson took the award for best closing statement and best overall advocate.

This is the 18th year of the competition, which is sponsored by Stewart McKelvey and the American College of Trial Lawyers. Dalhousie has had success in the past, winning the McKelvey Cup three of the last four years. “Our students demonstrated that hard work and preparation are the secret to successful trial advocacy,” says Brian Casey, who coached the team along with Michael Scott and Jeremy Smith. “I think they were the best-prepared team we have ever taken to the competition.”

Yowart and Watson are eager to head to Ottawa next month. “We’re excited to not only be representing Dalhousie and Atlantic Canada,” says Yowart, “but also to further develop our trial advocacy skills at a national level with the support of our coaches and teammates behind us.”