Texas Tech University School of Law won first place in the 2016 State Moot Court Competition, reclaiming the honor it achieved in 2013. Team members included C.J. Baker, Shelby Hall, and Kristen Vander-Plas, and their coach was Robert T. Sherwin. This is Texas Tech’s fifth championship since 1975. This year’s event took place during the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting in Fort Worth on June 14-16 and was put on by the Texas Young Lawyers Association.


Back row, from left: Texas Supreme Court Justice Jeff Brown, Justice Debra Lehrmann, Justice Don Willett, Justice Paul Green, Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht, Justice Phil Johnson, Justice Eva Guzman, Justice Jeffrey Boyd, and Justice Bill Whitehill of the 5th Court of Appeals; front row, from left: Kristen Vander-Plas, C.J. Baker, and Shelby Hall

Participating law schools also included Baylor Law School, Southern Methodist University School of Law, St. Mary’s University School of Law, Houston College of Law (formerly South Texas College of Law), Texas A&M University School of Law, and the University of Houston Law Center.

All teams went through seven rounds, and then the top four teams (Houston College, SMU, St. Mary’s, and Tech) advanced to a semifinal round and the top two (Houston College and Tech) went on to the final round. Houston College won the Best Brief Award, and Vander-Plas of the Tech team won Best Oral Advocate. The competition was judged by eight justices of the Texas Supreme Court and Justice Bill Whitehill of the 5th Court of Appeals.

It’s been a strong year for Texas law schools’ moot court teams, with Texas Tech having been ranked the No. 1 such program in the nation and the St. Mary’s team placing first in the National Appellate Advocacy Competition.