Menu Toggle menu

Moot Court is a Part of Brian Pokrywka’s DNA

While March is a busy time for any UC law student, Moot Court has certainly kept Brian Pokrywka ’12 on his toes this month. Pokrywka, the Moot Court executive director, recently participated in a moot court competition of his own in Boston, while he has been hard at work preparing for the UC-hosted August Rendigs Products Liability competition at the end of the month.

Like every other student who has tried out for Moot Court in recent years, Pokrywka weathered “an intense time crunch” during his 2L fall semester, completing an appellate brief and a three-round oral argument.

He saw Moot Court as an opportunity to hone his legal research and writing skills to better prepare him for a future legal career. Not only did his hard work lead to being selected to join the student-run appellate advocacy organization, but he even received the top oral argument score last fall.

While most of his peers were free of any further Moot Court responsibilities until the spring semester last year that was far from true in Pokrywka’s case. Late last fall, an emergency came up with the 3L student who had been writing the problem for the 2011 Rendigs competition. It was Pokrywka, a Toledo native, who stepped up, replying to an urgent email asking for someone to write the problem.

“The day after Christmas, I told my family about the opportunity, and then I drove back to Cincinnati from Toledo and started crafting the 2011 Rendigs Moot Court problem with a two-week deadline,” Pokrywka said.  “Our competition is always a products liability issue, and I previously had no experience with any products liability.”

After taking a week to learn products liability law, Pokrywka drafted the problem the following week. While most students try avoiding the law library after exams, he was putting in 14 hour days. “While the long hours were tough, I wanted to make sure that the problem represented the work that I was capable of,” he said. “At the same time, the problem reflects the work of UC Moot Court, so I did everything I could to make sure that I gave maximum effort in writing the problem.”

Last spring, Pokrywka competed in a securities law competition at Fordham Law School in New York. Then, in March 2011 he and Greg Laux participated as an unscored team in the Rendigs competition, due to an odd number of competing teams.

Pokrywka eventually opted to run for and was elected by his peers to serve in the executive director position. He functions in a managerial role, working with his “great team” of officers to make certain the organization runs efficiently and successfully.

“I chose to run for the position because Moot Court is something I’m passionate about,” Pokrywka said. “I believe the advocacy skills that Moot Court fosters will serve us well throughout our careers. Beyond just the written and oral advocacy skills, participating in Moot Court competitions builds organization skills, time management skills, and teamwork.”

In addition to his involvement with Moot Court, Pokrywka is working at a law clerk downtown for civil litigation defense firm Montgomery, Rennie & Jonson. He aspires to work in litigation, “preferably on the defense side,” he said.

After graduating from the University of Toledo in 2009 – where he majored in business administration, while minoring in finance – he finished work as a stockbroker intern with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, before coming to the College of Law.

In his free time, Pokrywka likes to golf, where he is a “single digit handicap with aspirations to get to scratch sometime after the bar exam.” He also once bowled a 298.

Until graduation, studying for the bar exam, and making it out onto the golf course, Pokrywka will continue putting in the long hours in the moot court office. After all, his goal when running for executive director was “to lay the groundwork for building and sustain a successful Moot Court program” at the College of Law.

By Jordan Cohen, ’13