Fordham Law students Daniel Akilov ’24 and Makayla Ashe ’24 won first place at the Cardozo BMI Entertainment and Media Law Moot Court Competition in March, triumphing against 14 other teams.
The competition centered around trademark, copyright, and NFTs—areas of law neither Akilov nor Ashe were familiar with before they began preparing for it. “In some ways, the most difficult part of [the competition]is that you are exploring an entirely new area of the law and have to have a working knowledge of it before you even start practicing oral arguments,” said Ashe.
The team turned to their coach, Matthew Roomberg ’23, and worked closely together to perfect their arguments. They also sought counsel from guest judges like Ron Lazebnik, a clinical associate professor at the Law School, where he teaches the Samuelson-Glushko Intellectual Property and Information Law Clinic.
The team embarked on a rigorous practice schedule, working nearly seven days a week for two months. Akilov and Ashe point to Roomberg’s coaching and support as crucial to their success. “Frankly, I don’t think we’d have gotten as far as we did without the help of Matt,” said Akilov. “He was always there for a phone call, and not only to help us with the initial research, but also with working through our arguments to find holes and plug them.”
Their hard work led the team to secure the top spot at the competition after three days of mooting.
For his part, Roomberg said it felt “incredible” to see his team succeed and expressed amazement at their ability to master the material in such a short period of time. “This is a really specialized, niche, technical, difficult body of law, and Daniel and Makayla had basically no prior exposure to these areas before,” said Roomberg. “They worked so hard, and within two months … [went]from knowing nothing about it to winning a whole competition.”