Alumni Coaches Make Real Difference for the Charles C. Papy, Jr. Moot Court Board

Miami Law alumni remain connected to their alma mater by serving as coaches to the moot court competitors.
Alumni Coaches Make Real Difference for the Charles C. Papy, Jr. Moot Court Board
Alumni coach, Harvey Sepler (middle) with the second place National Appellate Advocacy moot court team in 2016.

The Charles C. Papy, Jr. Moot Court Board is committed to recruiting and training the country's finest oral and written advocates. With the support of Miami Law's alumni, who serve as coaches to current law students, the moot court board has experienced continued success. This past year, the Moot Court Board ranked 17th in the nation.

Susan Fleischner Kornspan, J.D. '90, serves as the moot court's alumni advisory board chair. She is also an adjunct law professor at Miami Law, lecturing on appellate advocacy and coaching moot court teams. When asked about the importance of alumni coaches, Kornspan mentions credibility and confidence.

"Our alumni coaches, myself included, having sat in the same classrooms as our students, have credibility because we learned our skills at the same law school, which in turn gives our students the confidence that they, too, can enjoy such varied and successful careers, and hopefully pay it forward one day," she said.

Founded in 1953, the moot court board was named in 2006 for Charles Papy, the fifty-five-year member of the Florida Bar, a former member of the Florida Legislature, and a proper "lawyer's lawyer." 

"We have the great fortune that the majority of our coaches are alumni and they are vital to our team's success because as former moot court members they know the time, effort and dedication that it takes to be successful in competitions, and they also know what strategies work and which don't at the respective competitions they coach each year," said Farah Barquero, director of programs.

Harvey Sepler, J.D. '85, is a practicing appellate attorney who has worked with the Moot Court Board for over 20 years. During that time, he has coached a significant number of competition teams, as well as taught the advanced appellate advocacy class at Miami Law. 

"Working with the competitors has been terrific," said Sepler. "My teams have won at least two national competitions, countless regional competitions in the American Bar Association's National Appellate Advocacy Competition, and several state competitions in The Florida Bar's Orseck Moot Court Competition. We've also won a number of best brief and best oralist awards -- both on the state and national levels."

Thanks to Sepler's dedication as a coach, he was recognized with the first annual Professor M. Minnette Massey Award for his work with the moot court board. He also helped direct the program for a few years, during which Miami Law ranked sixth in the country.

"Working with our students –  both as part of the moot court board activities and in adjunct teaching – really been the highlight of my career and I absolutely encourage our alumni to get involved with the program," said Sepler. "You have so much to share, and you will absolutely have fun." 

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