Northeastern Law BLSA Team Triumphs at Thurgood Marshall Moot Court Competition

Melissa Niles ’24

3.15.23 —Northeastern Law students Melissa Niles ’24 and Sebastien Philemon ’24 returned to Boston this week after celebrating a second place finish at the Thurgood Marshall Moot Court Competition sponsored by the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA). Philemon also won Best Individual Respondent Argument for the preliminary rounds based on a vote of all the competition judges as well as Best Oralist for the national competition overall based on the cumulative score for his performances throughout the competition.

The competition took place in Washington, DC, during the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) national convention. Having qualified for the national competition with their 3rd place score at the Northeast Region Black Law Students Association (NEBLSA) 55th regional convention in February, the Northeastern team’s second place finish was a mere two point spread from the winning team on a 200 point scale.

“To say that things were close was an understatement and Melissa and Sebastien were truly phenomenal competitors, reworking their arguments after every round and using constructive criticism to continually improve their performance,” said Professor Dan Danielsen, who coached the Northeastern Law team.

Sebastien Philemon ’24

“Participating in moot court has solidified my passion for litigation, and it was an honor to represent Northeastern on the national scale. I am so grateful for the immense support that we have received from Professor Danielsen and other faculty members,” said Niles.

“Arguing in a real courtroom in front of federal judges has absolutely been the most meaningful experience of my law school career thus far, and I’m thrilled for the chance to do this again as a practicing litigator. I feel so lucky for the opportunity to have worked with Melissa, Professor Danielsen and all the other Northeastern Law professors who pushed us so far,” said Philemon.

In addition to the moot court triumphs, Jessica Andrade ’24, who serves as national director of communications on the NBLSA board, was recognized by NBLSA with the Pickett-Sowell Joy of NBLSA Award for her outstanding service and ever-positive attitude. “I am truly so honored to be awarded this year’s Pickett-Sowell Joy of NBLSA Award! Throughout this past year I have worked diligently to share the organizations work across its 200+ chapters within the United States and am proud to make Northeastern Law proud,” said Andrade.

Jessica Andrade ’24

At the NEBLSA regional convention in February, Melissa Niles ’24 and Langie Cadesca ’24 (the current NEBLSA secretary) jointly won the “Chapter President of the Year” award for their inspirational work as Northeastern Law’s BLSA chapter co-chairs. In addition, Niles was elected to join the NEBLSA board of directors and will take the helm as Combined Northern New England Subregional Director for the coming year. At the national convention, the NEBLSA was recognized as Region of the Year.



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