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
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

  2. What a fine example of the best of the Hoosier tradition! How sad that the AP has to include partisan snark in the obit for this great American patriot and adventurer.

  3. Why are all these lawyers yakking to the media about pending matters? Trial by media? What the devil happened to not making extrajudicial statements? The system is falling apart.

  4. It is a sad story indeed as this couple has been only in survival mode, NOT found guilty with Ponzi, shaken down for 5 years and pursued by prosecution that has been ignited by a civil suit with very deep pockets wrenched in their bitterness...It has been said that many of us are breaking an average of 300 federal laws a day without even knowing it. Structuring laws, & civilForfeiture laws are among the scariest that need to be restructured or repealed . These laws were initially created for drug Lords and laundering money and now reach over that line. Here you have a couple that took out their own money, not drug money, not laundering. Yes...Many upset that they lost money...but how much did they make before it all fell apart? No one ask that question? A civil suit against Williams was awarded because he has no more money to fight...they pushed for a break in order...they took all his belongings...even underwear, shoes and clothes? who does that? What allows that? Maybe if you had the picture of him purchasing a jacket at the Goodwill just to go to court the next day...his enemy may be satisfied? But not likely...bitterness is a master. For happy ending lovers, you will be happy to know they have a faith that has changed their world and a solid love that many of us can only dream about. They will spend their time in federal jail for taking their money from their account, but at the end of the day they have loyal friends, a true love and a hope of a new life in time...and none of that can be bought or taken That is the real story.

  5. Could be his email did something especially heinous, really over the top like questioning Ind S.Ct. officials or accusing JLAP of being the political correctness police.

ADVERTISEMENT