Fordham’s Maria L. Marcus National Moot Court Team Wins 74th Annual National Moot Court Competition


A three-person national Moot Court Team from Fordham Law School has won the 74th Annual National Moot Court Competition, sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers and the National Moot Court Competition Committee of the New York City Bar Association.

The Maria L. Marcus National Moot Court Team—consisting of Blake Elwood ’24, Deisy Abarca-Espiritu ’24, and Joe Orlando ’24—beat the University of Memphis School of Law in the final round, arguing an appellate case that involved a foreign defendant who was a social media influencer. Orlando, also, was named Best Oralist in the competition.

The team gave outstanding performances under the leadership of Makayla Ashe ’24, who served as their coach and who is also the editor-in-chief of the Moot Court Board. “I feel so proud of them,” she said. “They worked so hard. I watched their mastery of law grow over time.”

“This victory truly belongs to the entire Moot Court Board,” Orlando said. “None of this would have been possible without the dedication and tireless efforts of our incredible coach and Editor-in-Chief—Makayla Ashe—the National Bench team, the Executive Board, and everyone else who helped us prepare for competition.” 

Some of the issues raised in the competition case included who had jurisdiction over the influencer and other questions involving the Securities Act of 1933.

Fordham Law’s team faced multiple regional winners and runners-up in the final competition, and argued the case from both the petitioner’s and respondent’s sides. Ashe said the team had prepared intensely for the competition, meeting daily, sometimes twice a day to get ready.

“The success of our moot court program depends heavily on the contributions of each of our members,” Abarca-Espiritu explained. “True, the team spent countless hours preparing for the competition, but we could not have made it this far without the support of our peers who took time out of their busy schedules to serve as judges during our many, many practice rounds.”

Prior to this final round of competition, Fordham Law was awarded the Runner-up Best Brief in the competition’s regional rounds held in November 2023. Additionally, Abarca-Espiritu won Best Oralist and Elwood won runner-up Best Oralist at that time.

Being a member of the Maria L. Marcus National Team has been the highlight of my law school experience. It was a privilege to compete alongside Deisy and Joe, who are two of the best advocates and writers that I know,” Elwood said.

This competition provides law students from across the country the opportunity to hone their appellate advocacy skills.

This year marks the first time in 30 years that the Law School has won this historic competition.


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