It’s not every day that law students find
themselves arguing complex legal issues in front of actual Supreme Court
justices, but that’s exactly where WVU College of Law 2Ls Anna Williams and
Augustus Graff found themselves earlier this week.
The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia judged the West Virginia University College of Law’s Baker Cup Moot Court appellate advocacy competition in the Supreme Court Courtroom in Charleston on March 28. The Court named Williams, 23, of Bluefield, the winner and Graff, 27, of Ghent, the runner up. The Baker Cup, first awarded in 1927, has become an annual College of Law tradition.
“This is not something that most law students would get to experience,” said Amy Cyphert, moot court adviser and lecturer in law. “It’s a unique opportunity because we’re the only law school in the state.”
It takes months for the court staff to prepare for the competition, Cyphert said.
“The staff takes it really seriously and everyone goes to great lengths to make sure it’s a wonderful experience for our students.” she said. “The Court just seems to love doing it.”
The fictional case Williams and Graff argued involved a school prayer issue. They began preparing for the competition in January, writing briefs and then advancing through a series of practice rounds. Earlier rounds were judged by WVU Law Moot Court Board alumni who are now practicing attorneys and faculty at the College of Law.
Two of the current Supreme Court justices were runners up in previous Baker Cup competitions. While Williams was nervous to appear before the Court, she said the justices made her feel welcome.
“There were definitely some nerves appearing before such a distinguished body and being so young in our careers,” she said.
Williams, whose name will now be engraved on the cherished Baker Cup trophy, will be a summer associate at Nelson Mullins in Huntington this summer. She said her legal writing and appellate advocacy were favorites in law school so far, and hopes she can find a career niche in appellate advocacy.