North Hollywood High School Team Wins International Moot Court Competition

LOS ANGELES (LAUSD)—Congratulations to two seniors from North Hollywood High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) who recently traveled to Duke University in North Carolina where they won first-place in an International Moot Court competition.

Of 42 competing teams, which included eight additional two-person teams from North Hollywood High School, Catherine Smith and Krikor Kouyoumdjian emerged victorious and undefeated following five preliminary rounds in which they successfully argued both sides of a complex constitutional legal issue. Their coach is Paul Landau.

“Once again, students from North Hollywood High have achieved extraordinary success in a prestigious academic competition,” said LAUSD Board Member Tamar Galatzan, who represents the school. “I applaud Catherine and Krikor for their remarkable accomplishment.”

“I, too, would like to congratulate our North Hollywood High School students for their impressive first-place win,” said LAUSD Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines. “I also applaud all of our teams which should be proud of their achievement and for representing our District in this competition.”

This year, the competition’s prompt was adapted from an actual case decided by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. v. Arnold, which questioned the extent to which the U.S. government had a constitutional right to search documents on a person’s laptop computer at the international border, even if the government had no suspicion of illegal activity.

North Hollywood High School’s Michael Rale and Anjulie Bales, left, semifinalists in an International Moot Court competition at Duke University, join Coach Paul Landau, center, and First Place Champs Krikor Kouyoumdjian and Catherine Smith, right, also from North Hollywood High School.

In addition to first-place honors, North Hollywood High School won three top individual Best Speaker awards: Krikor Kouyoumdjian finished first, Catherine Smith placed second, and Michael Rale earned third-place honors. Kaya Zekioglu and Janna Lowensohn, also representing North Hollywood High School, received fifth and seventh place recognition, respectively.

North Hollywood High School’s first-place finish in this year’s competition continues a tradition of excellence in the International Moot Court contest. School officials credit teacher and coach Paul Landau with the team’s win and advanced placement in the competition.

Landau’s students have competed in the final round of the International Moot Court contest every year for the past four years, winning the entire competition last year as well. In addition, Landau has consistently guided more teams into the final rounds than any other coach in the country.

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