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Law School News

STCL Houston Students Win Two of Three Top Awards at Nation’s Most Prestigious Legal Writing Competition

South Texas College of Law Houston (STCL Houston) students recently found themselves just one award short of a complete sweep of the nation’s most prestigious legal writing competition.

Student advocates from Houston’s oldest law school earned second- and third-place in the 2020 American Society of Legal Writers’ Scribes competition this month. STCL Houston students have won five first-place awards, 12 second-place awards, and seven third-place awards at the Scribes competition in the last 20 years. STCL Houston is the only law school in the nation to win first-, second-, and third-place at the Scribes competition in a single year, a feat it achieved in 2012.

Each year, the American Society of Legal Writers compiles the winning briefs filed at all advocacy competitions across the nation. Competition judges, including law professors, practicing attorneys, and judges, then send the top 20 briefs to the organization’s Brief-Writing-Award Committee, which chooses the top three written submissions.

South Texas Law students have won five “Best Brief” awards in the Scribes competition since its inception in 1996 — no other law school in the country can claim this honor more than once.

“Scribes recognizes the best of the best,” said Robert Galloway, associate director of Appellate Advocacy at South Texas College of Law Houston for the past 28 years. “Our record in the competition is an ongoing reminder that we train exceptional legal writers.”

The student team of Meredith J. Clark, David V. Dorris, and Sandra M. Guillen came in second place for their brief written for the Leroy R. Hassell Sr. National Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition, and William N. Haacker, John Wooldridge, and Greg A. Urbach earned third place for their brief written for the same competition.

“We are so proud of our exceptional student advocates who recently extended the South Texas Law legacy of success at the Scribes competition,” said Michael F. Barry, president and dean of South Texas College of Law Houston. “Their remarkable achievements are a testament to the school’s outstanding Legal Research and Writing program, which hones and advances students’ writing skills from their first days of law school.”

In 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked South Texas College of Law Houston’s Legal Research and Writing program No. 25 in the nation.

“Excellent brief-writing is crucial to the success of all South Texas Law varsity moot court teams,” said T. Gerald Treece, vice president and director of South Texas College of Law Houston’s Advocacy program for over 40 years. “I’d like to especially thank our hardworking students, their coaches, and our top-notch Legal Research and Writing faculty members for the head start they give our students in brief writing.”