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Ben Johnson '10 and Alexander Schwab '11 Win Top Prize in Moot Court Finals


The final round of the Morris Tyler Moot Court of Appeals at Yale Law School was held Monday afternoon, December 7, in the Law School auditorium. Watch a video of the final round.

The Potter Stewart Prize for best overall written and oral argument went to Ben Johnson ’10 and Alexander Schwab ’11, who successfully argued for the petitioner, Jeffrey K. Skilling, in the case, Skilling v. United States.

Johnson also received the Harlan Fiske Stone Prize for best oralist, and the judges specifically praised the arguments of Joshua Braver ’11 and David Zhou ’10, who argued for the respondent, the United States.

(L-R) Front row: Judge Parker, Judge Sykes, Dean Post, Judge Ambro. Second row: David Zhou ’10, Joshua Braver ’11, Alexander Schwab ’11, Ben Johnson ’10. Behind: Moot Court Board.

Skilling v. United States, a real case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court this term, concerned an appeal from the criminal convictions of former Enron CEO Jeffrey K. Skilling. The case involved complex questions of statutory interpretation concerning a broad federal anti-fraud law, as well as constitutional questions regarding a defendant’s right to a change of trial venue when extreme bias against the defendant is present in the surrounding community.

Judge Thomas A. Ambro of the 3rd Circuit, Judge Barrington D. Parker Jr. of the 2nd Circuit, and Judge Diane S. Sykes of the 7th Circuit presided over the final round.

“We were extremely pleased by this semester's final round,” said competition co-chair Robert Heberle ’10. “All four finalists dedicated an extraordinary amount of effort to the Skilling case, both in their written briefs and in their oral arguments. Their outstanding performance before a panel of such skillful, engaged, and thoughtful judges has set the bar even higher for future moot court competitors.”

The Morris Tyler Moot Court competition takes place each semester at Yale Law School, culminating in the Harlan Fiske Stone Prize Finals in the fall and the Thurman Arnold Prize Finals in the spring. All second- and third-year law students are eligible to participate.