December 04, 2019
James Madison High School, a Brooklyn, New York-based public high school whose students participating in the MENTOR Law Program were coached by attorneys at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, yesterday won the final round of the 35th Annual Metropolitan MENTOR Moot Court competition at a federal courthouse in lower Manhattan.
The Justice Resource Center’s decades-old MENTOR program pairs city public schools with local law firms in a teaching/learning partnership. As one of its annual cornerstone activities, it hosts the citywide Moot Court competition, in partnership with Fordham Law School, to offer students at dozens of public high schools the opportunity to argue fictional appellate cases involving timely constitutional issues while being mentored in legal research and oral advocacy skills.
As the 2019 Moot Court competition finalists, James Madison and Townsend Harris High School of Queens, NY squared off at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit before three judges from the Eastern and Southern District Courts to argue the following issues based on a fictional fact pattern: (1) the constitutionality of an interrogation and seizure of a public high school student being investigated for vandalism on school grounds, and (2) the constitutionality of a School Board taking an adverse inference from a student’s silence during the disciplinary hearing.
“We are thrilled and so very proud of the James Madison High School students whose hard work, tenacity and impressive talent have led to this stellar achievement,” said Bill Natbony, a counsel at Cadwalader who, along with Cadwalader associate Rachel Ross, served as main attorney coaches for the team. “This annual event is an invaluable experience for all involved students because it gives them a close-up view of our legal system and the opportunity to interact with legal professionals while researching and debating matters of public importance.”
He added: “For the larger public, this is a fine example of a public/private partnership working to enrich the educational opportunities for our next-generation leaders.”
Cadwalader has been involved with the MENTOR Law Program since its inception in the 1980s and has had a long and successful mentoring relationship with James Madison High School. Its attorneys lend their ongoing support by providing individual mentoring, classroom instruction, field trips, advocacy competition coaching and the awarding of scholarship money. In 2019, more than a dozen Cadwalader attorneys mentored James Madison students throughout the entire Moot Court competition process.
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