Alito Holds for UVa Moot Court Team

Eric Hall '18
Editor Emeritus

 Trina Rizzo '19 and Phil Doerr '20 argued before Associate Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito to claim first place at the extramural moot court team's final tournament of 2018.

Trina Rizzo '19 and Phil Doerr '20 argued before Associate Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito to claim first place at the extramural moot court team's final tournament of 2018.


UVa Men’s Gold wasn’t the only team to claim victory for Virginia last Sunday. Rounding out the winningest weekend of 2018, Trina Rizzo '19 and Phil Doerr '20 trounced twenty-seven other teams to seize the championship at Fordham University’s Kaufman Securities Law Moot Court Competition Sunday. The pair argued before a panel of Circuit Court judges, and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Jr. to claim the title. When they landed in New York early Saturday morning, neither competitor imagined they might be arguing before an Associate Justice of the High Court. “They announced he would be judging on the first day,” said Doerr, “and I thought, wow, that would be amazing, but I don’t plan on ending up there.”  Asked what it was like to argue before the court’s rudest justice, Rizzo, known for her roles in UVa Law Boyz and the Advisory Committee for the 6th Restatement of Torts (is that a thing??), said, “He was very friendly on the bench and off.” Doerr, who was competing for the first time, hit his stride by the final round: “Once we actually got up there, and started talking, it felt like the other rounds did. You don’t really think about the fact that it’s Justice Alito asking questions.”

 Both champions credited their coaches and fellow teammates for their success. “It was really great having Sam and Josh there,” said Doerr, referring to Josh Spiegel '20 and Sam Connor '20, the two 1Ls who also competed. “At times, it really did feel like a four-person team; after the first day of arguments was over, we could go back to our Airbnb and discuss strategy and arguments,” said Rizzo, who also had time to catch a Broadway musical.

 Although the Fordham tournament was the last of the season—and the only one to feature a sitting U.S. Supreme Court Justice—it was hardly the organization’s only trophy this year. In January, Luke Zaro '19 and Katherine Whisenhunt '20 conquered the International Baseball Arbitration Competition at Tulane. And in March, Ron Pantalena '20 and Laura Toulme '20, captured first place in the Southeastern Region of the American Intellectual Property Law Association moot court competition. Also, Chelsea Kaluzny '20, Abbey Thornhill '20, Chinny Sharma '19, and Jana Minich '20 each took home awards for Best Oralist at their respective competitions. Placing first at Fordham caps a triumphant year for the Extramural Moot Court Team.

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