Skip to main content area Skip to institutional navigation Skip to search Skip to section navigation

Sarah Best L’21 and Kellen McCoy L’21 named winners of 2021 Keedy Cup

February 03, 2021

Sarah Best L’21 and Kellen McCoy L’21, arguing for the Respondent, were named the winning team in the 2021 Edwin R. Keedy Cup, the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School’s intramural moot court tournament. They argued against Sean Bender L’21 and Michelle Wang L’21, who argued for the Petitioner.

Sarah Best L’21 was also named Best Oralist.

“The entire experience has made me appreciate even more the incredible amount of warmth and encouragement in the Law School community,” said Best. “I am so grateful for the support of my professors, including Professors Barrett and Hickok, who taught me everything I know about legal writing and oral advocacy; mentors, including Penn/Keedy alumnus JiLon Li; and friends, including the three other finalists, and especially my Keedy partner Kellen McCoy.”

The 2021 Keedy Cup Finals

The two teams argued Collins v. Mnuchin, a case reheard en banc by the Fifth Circuit, involving complicated legal questions related to the constitutionality of agency structures. Finalists addressed two questions:

(1) whether the structure of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) violates the separation of powers; and

(2) whether the court must set aside a final FHFA action and strike the for-cause provision if the FHFA for-cause provision is found to be unconstitutional.

In previous years, all students, faculty, and staff at the Law School were invited to attend the event on-campus. In light of the coronavirus pandemic this year, however, the Keedy Cup finals were conducted virtually, over Zoom, for the first time in its 56‑year history. Finalists nevertheless cherished the opportunity to take part in continuing the tradition.

“After watching the Keedy Cup competitions my first two years of law school, making it to the finals still feels a little surreal,” said Bender. “This year’s competition wasn’t what any of us expected, but I’m glad we were able to keep the tradition going.”

McCoy pointed to a silver lining in the virtual aspect of the competition.

“While I never anticipated having Keedy Cup on Zoom, one of the benefits was that our families and friends from across the country were able to watch. Thank you to everyone who helped make the virtual Keedy possible,” McCoy said.

Wang echoed praise for how competition logistics were handled and looked toward the future.

“Being virtual did not take away the collaboration and bond of friendship we built together as finalists, the generous help we received from our professors and peers, or the intensity of the judges’ questioning,” Wang said. “I think it’s likely that many appellate oral arguments will be held virtually even after the pandemic and participating in a virtual Keedy Cup was a wonderful way to prepare for that.”

More about the finalists

Sarah Best grew up in Clarksville, Tennessee, and graduated summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University with a dual degree in Neuroscience and Classical Languages. Prior to law school, she worked for five years as a high school math teacher in Memphis and Nashville public schools and as an instructional coach for Teach for America and the Nashville Teacher Residency. At the Law School, she is the Academic Chair for the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, a Senior Editor on the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, a 3L Representative for the Equal Justice Foundation Board, and a member of First Generation Professionals. After graduation, Best will clerk for the Honorable Eugene Siler of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the Honorable Paul Diamond of the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the Honorable John Cronan of the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York.

Kellen McCoy was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a B.A. in Philosophy. Before law school, she worked for five years in communications and at an educational nonprofit as well as pursued a short-lived career in music. At the Law School, McCoy is the Co-Director of the Civil Rights Law Project and a Comments Editor for the University of Pennsylvania Law Review and has previously served as an Auction Chair for the Equal Justice Foundation. After graduation, she will clerk for the Honorable Royce C. Lamberth of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Sean Bender grew up in Edmond, Oklahoma and is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and Penn State. After college he commissioned as a naval officer and held several positions in the Naval Reactors Program, including serving as a lead engineer in the Reactor Engineering Division of Naval Sea Systems Command. At the Law School, he is an articles editor on the University of Pennsylvania Law Review and has worked at the Justice Department and the DC office of Covington & Burling, where he plans to return after graduation.

Michelle Wang grew up in Nanjing, China, and Vancouver, Canada. In 2018, she graduated summa cum laude from Wellesley College, where she studied psychology and economics. At the Law School, she is an Executive Editor for the Journal of Law and Social Change and a 3L Representative for the Equal Justice Foundation. She also enjoyed volunteering for the Pennsylvania Innocence Project and organizing the 19th Annual Conference on Asian Americans in Law and Politics with Penn’s Asian Pacific American Law Students Association. She is primarily interested in litigation, and this year she was selected to participate in the Federal Appellate Litigation Externship at Dechert’s Philadelphia office. She previously interned for the Honorable Allison Burroughs of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. After graduation, she plans to return to Massachusetts and join Quinn Emanuel’s Boston office.

Read more about the annual Edwin R. Keedy Cup competition.