Third-year law students named winners of Don Turner Moot Court Competition

by Sarah Carlson,

  • Nat Levy (L), runner-up of the Don Turner Moot Court Competition, stands next to the winners, Conor McCahill and Autumn Mills.
    Nat Levy (L), runner-up of the Don Turner Moot Court Competition, stands next to the winners, Conor McCahill and Autumn Mills.

Following the fourth night of competition last week, the judges recognized third-year law students Autumn Mills and Conor McCahill as the winners of the annual Don Turner Moot Court Competition.

This year’s competition included 28 participants on 14 teams. Students in their second and third years at Willamette Law competed, while 28 local attorneys volunteered to judge the event. The runners-up were 3Ls Nicole Tudhope and Nat Levy.

Mills said she and McCahill began preparing about a month ahead of time. The pair divided the roles they covered. Both sides in the case argued included a lay witness and an expert, so the two decided Mills would direct and cross examine lay witnesses, and McCahill would do the same for the experts.

Since students have a hard time getting experience with courtroom etiquette and applying evidence outside of some work positions, McCahill said Moot Court is an opportunity to learn those things firsthand.

“It allows students to address interesting evidence issues they might never see or do an appellate argument which they may never do in practice,” he said. “So I think it’s a really unique experience and one of the most practical ways to test your litigation skills outside of actual practice.”

Mills echoed his thoughts, saying it’s a time where students can make mistakes, develop their courtroom skills and receive feedback to improve. She plans on going into family law, and McCahill plans on doing litigation of some sort, so participation in Moot Court will help prepare them for their careers.

The Don Turner Competition is named after former Willamette Law professor and alumnus Don Turner LLB’59. Turner taught courses in criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence and scientific proof at the school from 1971-2002. He also advised the Moot Court Program and coached the regional teams. Before teaching, he served as a district attorney in The Dalles, Oregon.

About Willamette University College of Law

Opened in 1883, Willamette University College of Law is the first law school in the Pacific Northwest. The college has a long tradition at the forefront of legal education and is committed to the advancement of knowledge through excellent teaching, scholarship and mentorship. Leading faculty, thriving externship and clinical law programs, ample practical skills courses and a proactive career placement office prepare Willamette law students for today's legal job market. According to statistics compiled by the American Bar Association, Willamette ranks first in the Pacific Northwest for job placement for full-time, long-term, JD-preferred/JD-required jobs for the class of 2014 and first in Oregon for the classes of 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Located across the street from the state capitol complex and the Oregon Supreme Court, the college specializes in law and government, law and business, and dispute resolution.

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