Six Undergrads Participate in Albany Law's Moot Court Competition

Six students from UAlbany participated in Albany Law School’s first "Theodore T. Jones, Jr. Undergraduate Students of Color Moot Court Competition."

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 13, 2016) -- Six undergraduate students from the University at Albany participated in Albany Law School’s first "Theodore T. Jones, Jr. Undergraduate Students of Color Moot Court Competition" on Saturday, April 2.

The program, which was established by the New York State Bar Association’s Commercial & Federal Litigation Section, was part of a diversity initiative established to provide interested undergraduate students of color with an opportunity to participate in a law-related oral-advocacy competition.

UAlbany EOP Moot Court
The teams argued before a panel that included former N.Y. Court of Appeals and U.S. Magistrate judges.

As an outgrowth of the UAlbany/Albany Law affiliation, the event also allowed students an opportunity to visit the Albany Law School campus, and meet law students, as well as local lawyers and judges.

The six UAlbany students who participated in the competition include:

  • Mamadou Bah
  • Chloe Anne C. Blaise
  • Dakayla Bowlay-Williams
  • Iqbal Haque
  • Dionna Johnson
  • Brian Polanco

Prior to the competition, the students were provided with court materials to prepare their oral arguments. Each team (of two students) was paired with a local attorney or law student to prepare.

The teams argued before a panel of judges including: Albany Law School President and Dean Alicia Ouellette; Victoria Graffeo, Partner at Harris Beach and former Associate Judge, New York Court of Appeals; Randolph Treece, retired United States Magistrate Judge, Northern District of New York; Christina Ryba, New York Supreme Court Judge and Serena Joyce Williams, Judge Jones’ former law clerk. 

After two rounds, Dakayla Bowlay-Johnson/Dionna Johnson, and Brian Polanco/Chloe Anne C. Blaise, advanced to the finals. Dakayla and Dionna won the competition, with Brian and Chloe taking second place. All of the participants received a cash prize.

"The moot court competition was an excellent experience. It gave me the chance to learn about my personal strengths and weaknesses while being evaluated by local judges and attorneys," Bowlay-Johnson said. "I plan on going to law school next year, and the experience I gained from this competition certainly affirmed that decision. I appreciate Albany Law and UAlbany for providing me with this opportunity."

The competition was named after New York Court of Appeals Judge Theodore Jones, who served on New York’s highest court for five years prior to his passing in 2012. It honors his tremendous dedication to pipeline and other diversity initiatives.

In September 2015, UAlbany announced a deeper affiliation with Albany Law. Since then, the partnership has created new academic opportunities for students and sparked novel research and grant prospects for faculty. Learn more about the affiliation.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, businesseducation, public health,health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare and sociology, taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.