A trio of aspiring litigators from St. Mary’s University School of Law reigned supreme at the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition in Chicago last week.

st marys moot court

(From left:) The St. Mary’s University School of Law moot court team of third-year student Leah Wise, second-year William “Billy” Calve and third-year Stephanie De Sola. CONTRIBUTED BY ST. MARY’S UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW

“This championship speaks volumes about the quality of our law students as advocates,” David A. Schlueter, Hardy Professor of Law and Director of Advocacy Programs at St. Mary’s, said in a press release.

Teams participating in the competition—which many consider the most prestigious moot court contest in the U.S.—were required to simulate an appeal to the United States Supreme Court, submitting a brief and arguing a hypothetical case in front of a mock court of eight judges in the Everett M. Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago from April 7-9.

St. Mary’s Law third-year students Stephanie De Sola and Leah Wise, and second-year William “Billy” Calve—one of 24 teams competing—ultimately triumphed over Loyola Law School, Los Angeles in the final round. De Sola also received recognition from competition judges as the third-best brief writer in the nation.

Nearly 200 other teams competed from across the country in regional events for a spot in the championships, the team’s coach Ricky J. Poole said in the release.

“This is a tremendous achievement for these gifted advocates and a huge feather in St. Mary’s advocacy cap,” said Poole, an attorney who graduated from the law school in 1990 and coaches its External Advocacy Program moot court team.

“It simply confirms what I have long known, that through their innate advocacy skills and diligent preparation, St. Mary’s advocates can not only compete against the best programs in the country but can be the best.”

The National Appellate Advocacy Competition is hosted by the American Bar Association Law Student Division and emphasizes the development of oral advocacy skills through a realistic appellate advocacy experience.

The team’s championship comes shortly after another win at the Federal Bar Association Thurgood A. Marshall Memorial Moot Court Tournament on April 1. There, De Sola and Calve took home the national title in Washington, D.C., St. Mary’s third win in a row at the tournament.