Two Harvard Law School teams competed at the 13th annual Williams Institute Moot Court Competition at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law earlier this month. The event, which featured 30 teams from law schools nationwide, is the only national competition dedicated exclusively to the areas of sexual orientation and gender identity law.

The team of Miranda Mammen ’19 and Isabel Finley ’19 advanced to semifinals and were awarded Best Brief. Mammen was also recognized as Best Oral Advocate.

“Recent events have shown just how critical effective advocacy and appellate litigation will be under the Trump administration, so it was especially heartening to participate in a competition specifically focused on advocating against discrimination,” said Finley.

A second HLS team of Mario Nguyen ’17 and Kristen Bokhan ’17 advanced to the quarterfinal round.

The Williams Institute is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. The institute’s moot court competition, founded in 2005, seeks “to promote and recognize the finest oral and written advocacy on a significant problem in sexual orientation and gender identity law.”

Mammen said: “We had a wonderful time and are so grateful to the Williams Institute for their vital work developing high-quality advocates for the queer community.”

This year’s topic challenged participants to examine whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and the constitutionality of a state law under the equal protection clause.

Last year, a Harvard team of Alyssa O’Gallagher ’17 and Greg Vose ’17 won the 2016 competition in a final round against the University of Pennsylvania Law School.