It’s a hat trick!
For the third time in a row, Tulane Law’s Thurgood Marshall Appellate Team has won the Southwest Regional Championship in the Black Law Student Association Moot Court Competition. BLSA’s appellate team has dominated this competition for the past three years, and this year’s team has earned a bid to compete for the National title in Houston in March.
This year’s team is made up of August Simien and Ehsun Qamar, both second-year Tulane Law students who competed against other SWBLSA member schools including the University of Oklahoma, Loyola, LSU and the University of Houston and successfully navigated two very difficult issues in the Washington v. United States case. The first was whether medical expert testimony on Battered Women’s Syndrome is relevant and admissible in proving the defendant’s affirmative defense of duress, and the second was whether a defendant is entitled to a presumption of prejudice following a single juror’s extrajudicial research on Wikipedia.
After a semi-final win against Loyola University, they moved on to the championship round where they argued against Texas A&M at the William J. Holloway Federal Courthouse in Oklahoma City.
“As coaches, we are so proud of August and Ehsun and are extremely excited to watch them compete again at nationals in March,” said Roi Wallace, a national champion herself who is serving as a coach of this year's team. “As an appellate discipline, we truly believe in the legacy that has been cultivated by those who came before us, and we hope to leave even more for those who come after us. If you see August or Ehsun around, please congratulate them on the win!”
Tulane’s BLSA moot court program has made significant strides since merging with the Tulane Law Moot Court Program in 2020. In 2022, Reagan Roy and Clarence “Trey” Roby III ( both L’23) took the national championship for the first time, sweeping in all categories including best brief and best oralist.
In 2023, Wallace and Brianna Thurman (both L’24) made it an all-female championship team during a competition themed “The Year of the Black Woman.” They took home the trophy and are now coaches to Simien and Qamar.
Simien and Qamar hope to continue Tulane Law’s BLSA Moot Court legacy by winning a three-peat at Nationals. The BLSA Moot Court national competition is the most prestigious national competition for Black law students.
“It’s easy to credit this accomplishment to the participants, but it is impossible without our coaches and Tulane BLSA Alumni family,” said Simien (L’25). “Competitors are only able to perform as well as they prepare, and our coaches, Roi Wallace, Brianna Thurman, Lex Kumar, and D.J. Johnson, made sure that we were sufficiently prepared before traveling to Oklahoma City."
"Participating in Tulane’s Moot Court Program has been the most fulfilling experience thus far in my law school journey, and Ehsun and I are honored to carry the BLSA Appellate Team legacy," Simien added. "While we are joyful for winning the Regional Championship, our true goal is not yet accomplished. Ehsun and I look forward to pushing our limits these next few weeks to ensure that we are absolutely ready to perform at our highest level in Houston.”
His teammate agreed.
“I’m just happy we were able to wave the Tulane flag,” said Qamar. “Making our professors and fellow students proud is what it’s all about. I want to thank our coaches for their help; their dedication to excellence is why we won. I also want to encourage all 1Ls to argue on to moot court or mock trial!”