Galloway Moot Court Competition 2024

Galloway Moot Court Competition 2024

With cool wind whipping the darkened trees outside, four students paced back and forth in Charney Hall’s Mabie Atrium. With folders in hand, they took a few measured breaths and shared a glance or two with one another before proceeding into the Justice Edward A. Panelli Courtroom.

The night’s occasion? 

Clay Walters 1L and Tristen Warmington 1L

Clay Walters 1L and Tristen Warmington 1L

The finals of the 2024 Galloway Moot Court Competition, now two months in the making following dozens of legal brief submissions and oral arguments. The case? “Will Fong and Lori Foulin v. The United States of America,” a fictitious Supreme Court appellate case loosely based on the 2019 Varsity Blues College Admissions Scandal. 

The competitors? For the petitioners—”Will Fong” and “Lori Foulin”—William Vogel 1L and Samuel Pumarejo 1L; for the respondent—the United States of America—Clay Walters 1L and Tristen Warmington 1L. Before an assembled crowd of students, faculty, and onlookers, the four finalists made their way to their respective counsel tables, standing tall as the judges entered the room.

Presiding over the final round was a decorated panel of three justices; Justice Nathan D. Mihara (Ret.), former Associate Justice of California’s 6th District Court of Appeal; Justice Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian, Associate Justice of California’s 6th District Court of Appeal; and Justice Peter H. Kirwan J.D. ‘86, judge of the Superior Court of Santa Clara County.

Samuel Pumarejo 1L and William Vogel 1L

Samuel Pumarejo 1L and William Vogel 1L

After brief introductions from the Petitioner and the Respondent, Vogel and Walters presented opening statements before the justices. Both explained their case theories, touching on critical parts of the fact pattern: counterfeit currency, Brady violations, and the alleged conspiracy to bribe a government official. Both students held up under pressure from the justices, who intermittently interrupted the students to ask clarifying questions and make probing remarks.

“A key takeaway from this experience is that sometimes as a lawyer you need to be tough,” Walters says. “You need to stand your ground and be confident in both your argument and yourself.”

Following openings and a brief rebuttal, the students moved on to the second issue at hand in the case: a purported violation of the 4th Amendment. Pumarejo and Warmington took the lectern, arguing their respective theories to the justices and addressing points of rebuttal in each others’ arguments. Again, both students stood firm in the face of intense questioning from the justices.

“A key takeaway for me has been not only how challenging oral arguments can be, but how rewarding they are,” Warmington notes. “It has been so much work, but getting to this spot in the competition makes all the hours that Clay and I spent practicing so worth it.”

Following final rebuttal, the three justices entered chambers to deliberate as attendees played a Kahoot! game while waiting. After some time, the justices returned with a verdict: Vogel and Pumarejo emerged victorious!

Justice Kirwin congratulated the victors: “Kudos to you guys. There’s a reason you’re in the finals; you’re all excellent. Poised, good eye contact; you all knew the facts, knew the case law.” Seriously impressed, all three justices concurred, noting that this year’s competition was among the finest they’ve seen. Even though some speeches went overtime, the justices noted that they allowed it—simply because they were having so much fun.

“The Galloway Competition is such an impactful learning experience,” Vogel comments. “It’s given me so much knowledge and insight into oral advocacy and litigation. Working with my partner Sam has also been an absolute pleasure.”

“Competing in the Galloway Moot Court competition has been invaluable, in terms of affording my partner and me substantive opportunities to demonstrate and build upon our real-time advocacy skills,” Pumarejo concurs. “And I couldn’t have asked for a better moot court partner than Will Vogel.”

Thank you to esteemed justices Mihara, Manoukian, and Kirwan for their time and support during this process, and to our volunteer coaches—Alisha Hacker, Elizabeth Handtke, Hana Steinbronn, Maria Williams, Ruben Souza-Marquez, Terra Bilhorn, Simone Wolberg, and  William Nachtrieb—for supporting our competitor teams. We are equally grateful for our 2023-2024 Galloway Moot Court Board: Professor Adriana Duffy-Hörling, Faculty Advisor; Alyson Smock, Head Chair; Hanchel Cheng; Assistant Chair Hannah Chang; Aaron Stromberg; Ajit Bhullar; Andrey Volkov; and Jackson Ladgenski. 

Congratulations to all of our students!

Photo album can be viewed here.

Galloway Moot Court justices, student organizers and Professor Duffy

Galloway Moot Court justices, student organizers, and Professor Duffy