College of Law Fields First-Ever Team in Trademark Moot Court Competition

The weekend of February 8, the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law participated for the first time in the Saul Lefkowitz Trademark Moot Court Regional Competition in Dallas, TX. This was the first year that the competition was open to the Southwest Region. The College of Law’s team of Tom McCosh and Adam Pritchard was one of 11 teams from nine participating schools. Each team participated in two moot court arguments, and at the end, two teams were chosen to proceed to the national finals.

Team coach Terry Kogan said, “Facing well-prepared teams, Tom and Adam performed admirably well, fielding difficult questions from challenging panels of judges. Though no winning team was announced after each round, in my view Tom and Adam gave the most compelling and polished performances in each of their two rounds.”

“Though not advancing to the National Finals, Tom and Adam are to be commended for their hard work in preparation for this event, and for their excellent oral arguments,” Kogan added.

McCosh thanked the faculty advisers from the College of Law for their help in preparing for the competition. “Every couple of days I was walking in and out of Professor Hessick’s and Professor Rinehart’s offices. Adam and I met with Hessick, Rinehart and Kogan on two or three separate occasions to give our arguments and receive feedback, and Adam and I met alone when we felt the need to work out a new angle on our arguments. Everyone was very generous with their time and their brainpower. I appreciate every one of them for being so accommodating.”

Pritchard added, “Thomas and I went into this experience looking to learn through a trial by fire. I knew more or less what to expect in terms of oral argument structure, but you can never be prepared for the questions the judges will throw at you. I was most surprised at how well prepared all the competitors were and how even the most prepared of us were blind-sided by some of the judges’ apt questions.”

Both team members offered hard-won words of advice for future teams.

“Remember three things,” Pritchard said. “First, always know your standard of review; second, always know what remedies are available and what remedies you are asking for; and third, always take Professor Kogan up on an offer for fried alligator.”

McCosh added, “First, don’t underestimate the importance of your brief. Adam and I did incredibly well in both rounds of oral argument — in my opinion, better than both our opponents — and yet we left ample room for another team to improve the school’s overall standing in the competition next year. Oral arguments are important, but they aren’t everything. If we had a chance to do it over, I’d want another few weeks of lead-in time to work on the brief.”

“Second, remember that you are a team. One of the greatest strengths in having a partner up there with you is that you have someone who hears the judge’s questions from a different perspective. If you are struggling and your partner tries to get your attention, you can always just say, ‘Your Honor, may I have a moment to consult with my co-counsel?’ And your partner can throw you a lifeline.”

“Third, don’t rely to heavily on your notes, and get used to making arguments with and without a podium in front of you. You never know what you’re going to get,” McCosh concluded.