Health Law Moot Court Team's Brief Takes Third Place

UNM School of Law's 2008 National Health Law Moot Court TeamMembers of the UNM School of Law's 2008 National Health Law Moot Court Team placed third in the nation for their brief during the annual competition at Southern Illinois University School of Law.

The team of Tiffany Dowell, Julianna Koob, Brian Close, Erica Neff and Alicia Santos also won a preliminary round in oral arguments. In addition, Dowell was fourth place oralist. They were coached by Mary Behm ('99), Cassandra Malone ('08) and Kevin Pierce, 3L. A total of 34 teams competed.

This year's question revolved around a hospital wanting to terminate life-sustaining treatment for a patient in a persistent vegetative state, against his wife's wishes. To support this action, the hospital used a procedure in state law that grants it full immunity for that decision. Issues addressed by the students included: Was the hospital a state actor and did the hospital give due process to the patient?

"My goal with this is not to win competitions, rather, it's to make good lawyers, and I can look at the group and know I accomplished that goal," says Behm.

Close, a 2L, has already noticed more confidence in his public speaking skills. "This has taught me to feel comfortable in court — slow down and not panic, compose my thoughts, and how to speak and listen to the judges."

Behm and her team are grateful to the many judges, lawyers and faculty who helped them prepare, especially New Mexico Court of Appeals judges Cynthia Fry, Michael Bustamante and Jonathan Sutin.

Pictured are, l-r: Brian Close, Tiffany Dowell, Erica Neff, Alicia Santos, Kevin Pierce, Coach Mary Behm and Julianna Koob.