RALEIGH, N.C. — The NC Association of Defense Attorneys held its annual "practical skills for young lawyers" CLE on July 25th. The practical skill covered this year was appellate oral argument. The format of this CLE was quite unique; although it began with classroom presentations like most CLE's, the late morning and afternoon sessions consisted of a mock appellate argument competition. The final round of the competition was held at the NC Supreme Court. Smith Moore Leatherwood's Coooper Harrell was one of the presenters and judges for the CLE, along with Justices Newby and Edmunds (of the NC Supreme Court), Judge McCullough (of the NC Court of Appeals), and two other appellate lawyers from Hedrick Gardner's appellate practice group. After multiple rounds of oral argument, the winner of the competition by unanimous decision was Smith Moore Leatherwood's Matt Leerberg. Leerberg presented a superb argument and responded skillfully to numerous tough questions from a hot bench.
Leerberg serves on the North Carolina Bar Association's Appellate Rules Committee and is a regular contributor to NCAPB.com, Smith Moore Leatherwood's blawg that provides news, information, tips, and resources for practicing law in North Carolina's state and federal appellate courts. Cooper Harrell's appellate experience includes cases pending before the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the North Carolina Supreme Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.