ILNews

Maurer grads second in national ‘fantasy’ SCOTUS competition

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A half point is all that separated Indiana University Maurer School of Law’s Bro Bono team from first place and ultimate bragging rights in a competition where teams were asked to predict how U.S. justices would vote on cases this term.

And a tie-breaker question is what allowed the four recent graduates to come in second instead of third in the competition that consisted of more than 80 teams. The team learned of the results this week.

Bro Bono was led by Andrew Proia, who came up with the idea to enter a team in the Bloomberg Law and SCOTUSblog Supreme Court Challenge, the second year for the competition. He asked Kyle Fields, Nathan Herbert and Eric Silvestri – whom he knew from working together on moot court – to join the team that Nathan and Eric later dubbed “Bro Bono.”

And what about that clever team name? Herbert says not only is it a silly pun on “pro bono,” but it captures the sense of friendship among the four members, all 3Ls at the time of the challenge.

“The second reason that we chose our team name was to distinguish ourselves as students at a public law school. [T]he landscape of higher education is largely bifurcated between private and public schools, where the former carries greater prestige,” Herbert explained in an email. “That fact is all the more pronounced in legal education (e.g., only three of the top 14 law schools in America are public schools).”

The four Maurer students also attended public schools for their undergraduate studies.

“In choosing our team name, we accepted the characterization of public school students as academically less serious, party-type people. We hoped that by calling ourselves Bro Bono we could convey an appropriate humility about our roots and that if we succeeded, we could also help to change the narrative about public school students.”

The challenge asks teams comprising law school students to decide whether the Supreme Court would grant or deny six specific petitions and also determine the outcome on six merit cases that would be argued in March and decided by the court. Teams had to say what party was going to win, how many justices were going to make up the majority opinion and how the individual justice would vote in each case. Their predictions had to be in before arguments were held.

Proia said Bro Bono predicted four of the merit cases completely correct and only one of the petitions wrong. The team guessed correctly on the high-profile suit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, thanks to Silvestri.

Bro Bono split up the cases and petitions so that each member focused on a few, doing research to make predictions on the outcomes. Then, the members would get together to discuss the cases, get feedback, and make an overall agreement on how to proceed on each case.

Silvestri was responsible for United States v. Windsor, and Proia said because of his work, the team bumped into second place. Bro Bono also correctly picked on who would win in Hollingsworth v. Perry and the number of justices voting, but missed on the alignment. Proia thinks the Perry decision also helped propel the team into the Top 3.

In fact, Bro Bono was tied for third and their second-place finish was earned based on the tie-breaker question on how much time would elapse between the first case argued and the first actual decision. Bro Bono guessed 30 days; the actual time was 60 days.

The result: the team will receive $1,500 for their second-place finish, plus a $1,000 bonus for beating the SCOTUSblog expert team.

Proia said that money could help pay off student loans. Herbert plans on buying Maurer professor Luis Fuentes-Rohwer a beer. Then he said he’s going to buy the jersey of former Indiana University basketball player Victor Oladipo from whatever team drafts him. The Orlando Magic drafted Oladipo Thursday.

Herbert says the team hasn’t done much bragging – yet. After they learned of their placement, they called each other to share in their excitement, but then it was back to bar review.

And where is Bro Bono now? Proia currently works as a postdoctoral fellow in information security law & policy at the Maurer law school. Silvestri will be working at Chapman & Cutler in Chicago in the general litigation department, and Herbert will join Mayer Brown in Chicago as an associate in the banking and finance practice. Proia was unsure of Fields’ employment status.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  2. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  3. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  4. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  5. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

ADVERTISEMENT