The 92nd annual Iowa Supreme Court Day, one of Iowa Law’s most cherished traditions, went virtual in 2020.
Every year since the inaugural Supreme Court Day was held in 1928, talented Iowa Law students have argued in front of Iowa Supreme Court Justices during Supreme Court Day. The event, originally a replacement for the former Law Jubilee, has morphed from an argument by the law club presided by two Iowa Supreme Court Justices, to the seminal event in a year-long process. Today, many second-year law students participate in appellate advocacy I and top students get invited to participate in appellate advocacy II in their 2L spring semester. Of those students, four are chosen to participate in Supreme Court Day the fall of their 3L year.
This year, Supreme Court Day participants Paul Esker, Kayla Boyd, Peter Murray, and Peter Raun presented their arguments before Iowa Supreme Court Justices via Zoom.
Although COVID-19 has upended many things, organizers and participants of the 2020 Supreme Court Day knew that this tradition had to continue.
"It was definitely more stressful to plan this year's Supreme Court Day than I originally anticipated,” Supreme Court Day Coordinator Elizabeth Shaw said. “However, we had a great team coordinating the technology, Iowa Supreme Court Justice's schedules, and everything in between. This event would not have happened without the dedication of the advocates, Iowa Supreme Court, Iowa Law staff, and Moot Court Board. The event was fantastic, and I could not be happier with how everything went given the circumstances!"
Despite the unique circumstances surrounding Iowa Supreme Court Day 2020, the event still provides an opportunity for celebration, tradition, and teaching.
“As a 1L watching Supreme Court Day, I remember being completely amazed by the advocates,” Kayla Boyd said. “Their ability to stand in front of a crowded room and seven Supreme Court Justices and give such persuasive and professional presentations was astounding. But what I also saw was four men. I knew right then and there that I wanted to be a Supreme Court Day advocate not only as my own personal goal, but also to show how strong and powerful Iowa Law’s female advocates are. I almost cannot believe that I, too, stood up in front of a crowded (virtual) room of people and seven Justices and argued my heart out!”
Advisor Mary Ksobiech worked hard with her team to ensure a successful Supreme Court Day despite the obstacles. “A highlight of Supreme Court Day is always welcoming the Justices to Boyd Law Building, and the chance for the law school community to observe the arguments,” she said. “This year’s virtual arguments may have looked slightly different, but both the Iowa Supreme Court and the advocates did an outstanding job to develop an engaging experience for everyone.”
The Iowa Supreme Court Day tradition is strong, and though this year’s iteration looked a bit different than years past, it was as memorable and our student advocates were as strong as ever.
Adam R. Lorenzana is a 3L at Iowa Law. A Long Island, NY native, Adam attended Georgetown University for his BS and MA, graduating in 2014 and 2017, respectively. This past summer Adam was a summer associate with the NYC office of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, where he will return to practice corporate and transactional law upon graduation.