Press Release

Two Ohio Wesleyan Students Headed to Moot Court National Competition

November 24, 2015 – by Ohio Wesleyan University

Ohio Wesleyan sent five moot court teams to regional competition this month. Participating were, back row from left, Benjamin Danieli, Michael Crum, Zahkin Davis, team advisor Michael Esler, Caroline Hamilton, and Jerry Lherisson, and, front row from left, Katherine Berger, Rhiannon Herbert, Sarah Richmond, Isabella Moore, and Madeleine Juszynski (Photo courtesy of Michael Esler)

Qualifying Performance by Seniors Katherine Berger and Rhiannon Herbert ‘Stunning,’ Coach Says 

DELAWARE, Ohio – Five of Ohio Wesleyan University’s eight moot court teams competed this month in the Great Lakes Regional contest of the American Collegiate Moot Court Association, with one team qualifying for national competition.

The team of seniors Katherine Berger and Rhiannon Herbert qualified for the national tournament in Long Beach, California, in January, after finishing second in the Great Lakes Regional, held Nov. 13-14 in Saginaw, Michigan. Berger of Sunbury, Ohio, won the award for top individual orator, and Herbert of Mentor won the award for 12th best individual orator.

“Katie and Rhiannon’s performance at this year’s regional was stunning,” said politics and government professor and pre-law advisor Michael Esler, Ph.D., who coaches OWU’s moot court teams. “The team argued seven rounds over two days. They won every ballot through the first five rounds and a majority in the round of four. …

“One of the members of the moot court association who attended the final round commented that Katie’s rebuttal was the best he had ever heard,” Esler said. “I was moved by every aspect of their performance. On their way to reaching the finals, they defeated some of the top teams in the regional and nation.”

Esler said the entire team did well in the regional competition, which featured 80 orators practicing their understanding of federal law coupled with their presentation and problem-solving skills.

"This year’s team is well-prepared in what is a fairly complicated case,” Esler said of all participating teams. “They have been working hard for many months starting in June. Everyone gets along well and helps each other out. Our success so far is very much a team effort.”

Also participating in the Great Lakes Regional contest were the OWU teams of junior Caroline Hamilton and senior Benjamin Danieli, sophomore Madeleine Juszynski and senior Sarah Richmond, senior Jerry Lherisson and junior Isabella Moore, and senior Zahki Davis and junior Michael Crum.

The teams of Hamilton-Danieli and Juszynski-Richmond also qualified for the single-elimination rounds that helped Berger and Hebert earn a spot in the nationals. Juszynski earned the award for 20th best orator.

The American Collegiate Moot Court Association is the premier moot court competition for undergraduates, Esler said, simulating an appellate court hearing in which teams of two “attorneys” argue constitutional issues before a panel of lawyers and judges who portray Supreme Court justices. This year’s issues involve the free exercise of religion and equal protection rights of undocumented persons in the country illegally.

OWU’s three other moot court teams are participating in the Midwest Regional contest in Wooster, Ohio. Those teams are seniors Matthew McCord and Alex Pavlechko, juniors Allison DeLooze and Jessica Choate, and juniors Forest Dearing and Chloe Dyer.

To learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s moot court program, contact Esler at, or visit to learn more about the university's pre-law major.

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers 87 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world experience. OWU’s 1,675 students represent 43 U.S. states and territories and 33 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at