A team from St. Mary’s University on Thursday won the Texas Young Lawyers Association Moot Court Competition at the State Bar Convention in Austin, the most prestigious advocacy competition in the state of Texas.

The St. Mary’s team of Alison Hicks, who received her juris doctor degree in May, and third-year law students Halina Radchenko and Kimberly Phillips in the final round defeated a team from South Texas College of Law, which claimed victory last year on a 5-4 split decision over St. Mary’s. All nine law schools in Texas fielded teams in this year’s competition.

Additionally, Phillips was recognized as the best advocate at the competition.

This marks the second time in the past four years that St. Mary’s has won the championship. A St. Mary’s team took the title in 2002, the same year St. Mary’s students won the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition.

“This is another confirmation that the External Advocacy Program at St. Mary’s is among the best in the state. I congratulate our coach, our team, and our school,” said Bill Piatt, dean of the law school, adding that students soon will be practicing external advocacy in one of the most technologically enhanced courtrooms in the country when the school’s new courtroom is completed this fall.

“I am very proud of these fine EAP moot court students that have brought well-deserved recognition to St. Mary’s,” added coach Ricky Poole, a 1990 graduate of the School of Law and a member of the championship moot court team that won the title in 1989.

“In the last seven years, St. Mary’s External Advocacy Program moot court teams have reached the semifinals or better of this most prestigious state competition six times, three of those times reaching the final round, and winning two championships out of those three finals appearances. We look forward to defending our title next year,” he said.

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