WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- West Virginia Supreme Court Justices Larry V. Starcher and Joseph P. Albright were among the judges of the 37th Annual William B. Spong Jr. Invitational Moot Court Tournament at William & Mary School of Law.
The tournament in Williamsburg, Va., was held Feb. 15-16 in Williamsburg.
The moot court provides an opportunity for law students to develop and refine oral advocacy and brief writing skills. Team members participate in moot court tournaments, which require each team to research and write an appellate brief and defend it before a panel of judges in an oral argument. Membership on the moot court is an honor, and tryouts for the team are competitive.
In addition to competing in other tournaments around the nation, the William & Mary Moot Court Team annually hosts the Spong tournament, which focuses on current issues in constitutional law. Teams from around the nation are invited. Rounds are judged completely by panels of federal and state court judges. The Virginia Trial Lawyers Association is the tournament's co-sponsor and members also serve as judges for the tournament.
Starcher has judged hundreds of such events over the years, but he said he never grows tired of doing so.
"It's always a pleasure to work with law students," said Starcher, who also teaches at the West Virginia University College of Law. "In fact, I just finished getting my lesson plans ready for next week."
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Starcher said it was the second time he and Albright had helped with the tournament at William & Mary, which is the oldest law school in America.
"It was a nice experience," he said. "I rode up with Justice Albright. We worked Friday night judging and all day Saturday. We judged at least four or five rounds each."
Starcher said a team from Regents University in Virginia Beach won the event. A team from WVU advanced to the semifinals, he said.
Starcher is a native of Roane County. He holds undergraduate and law degrees from West Virginia University. He served as circuit judge in Monongalia County for 20 years, 18 as chief judge, prior to his election to a 12-year term on the Supreme Court in 1996. While sitting as a circuit judge, Justice Starcher served as a special judge in 23 of West Virginia's 55 counties.
Albright is a native of Parkersburg, Wood County. He is a graduate of Notre Dame University and Notre Dame Law School. He practiced law in Parkersburg from 1962 to the time of his service on the Supreme Court. He is a 14-year veteran of the West Virginia House of Delegates and served as the 52nd Speaker in 1985-86. Justice Albright was appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor Gaston Caperton and served in 1995 and 1996. In 2000 he was elected to a full 12-year term and served as Chief Justice in 2005.