A team of Harvard Law School students advanced to the semifinals of the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition held in February at Pace Law School in Albany, NY. The team was comprised of Ed Roggenkamp ’09, Kim Smaczniak ’09, and Rachel Evans ’10.

“We had a great time,” said Roggenkamp. “It was a real honor for us to advance to the semifinals and compete with schools that have been at the top of this competition for years. We’re very proud of our accomplishment, and we hope that HLS starts sending a team every year.”

This year marks the first time HLS students have advanced past the preliminary rounds of the competition. The team, which was advised by Visiting Professor Richard Lazarus, wrote an appellate brief during the fall semester and then participated in oral argument rounds over three days in February.

The moot court case this year was an appeal of a case involving salvage of an historic Spanish shipwreck that straddled the border of a national marine sanctuary. The problem required briefing and oral argument on six contested issues arising under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the Rivers and Harbors Act, and the Sunken Military Craft Act, as well as questions of foreign sovereign immunity and the reach of U.S. law on the Outer Continental Shelf.

Each participating team wrote a brief for all three parties—the U.S., Spain, and a fictional salvage company—and then argued on behalf of each of the parties over the course of three preliminary rounds. Teams advanced to the quarterfinal round based on a combination of oral argument and brief scores.

Out of 70 teams participating, 27 advanced to the quarterfinals, and only nine went on to the semifinals. The HLS team was defeated in the semifinal round by Lewis and Clark Law School, which went on to win the competition for the second year in a row.