Mercer Law student captures top honor in annual closing-argument competition

ATLANTA - Mercer Law student Louise Smith finished first in the recent 2010 Keenan’s Kids Foundation’s annual Law Student Closing Argument Competition. Last year, another Mercer Law student, Michael Lyles II ’10, captured first place. The Keenan’s Kids Foundation was established in 1993 by the Keenan Law Firm to raise awareness about child safety. (Pictured left, Louise Smith is second from the left.)

Students from Georgia’s five law schools applied to compete in the competition. This year, the foundation received numerous applications, with only 16 students selected to give closing arguments. Monetary prizes were awarded to the top three competitors. The competition was held Nov. 6.

Since the competition’s inception over a decade ago, the foundation has sponsored 10 closing argument competitions for second- and third-year law students in Georgia. Each student is given 15 minutes to make a closing argument. The panel of judges includes members of the local media, experienced plaintiff and defense lawyers, and parents of an injured child who has gone through the civil litigation process.

This year’s top finishers were:

  • First place: Louise Smith (Mercer, 3L)
  • Second Place: Danielle Long (John Marshall, 3L)
  • Third Place: Elizabeth Bentley (Georgia State, 2L)
  • Fourth Place Honorable Mention: Dylan Bess (Georgia State, 2L) and Trevor Maitland (University of Georgia, 2L)

“Each and every one of the students who competed in this event did an outstanding job,” said foundation founder Don C. Keenan. “This year especially, the students seemed less nervous and more prepared than ever before. I am in awe over the dedication and preparation the students took before giving their presentations. We saw some excellent feedback from the judges, and I am confident this has made a lasting impression on all the participants.”