Feb. 6, 2018 -- Lindsey Henry, a reporter at FOX 26 Houston (KRIV), recounted what it was like to cover a major natural disaster after Hurricane Harvey inundated the Gulf Coast region last August and September.
"Hurricane Harvey: Mopping up the Holy Water" was a symposium in conjunction with the 2018 Andrews Kurth Kenyon Moot Court National Championship held recently at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Houston. The annual event is conducted by the University of Houston Law Center's Blakely Advocacy Institute.
Brad Aiken '07, a partner at Edison, McDowell & Hetherington LLP, made opening remarks.
"It's important that you think of these events to know that it's not just a story on the news," Aiken said. "It impacts real people and it's going to take years to recover. As lawyers and law students, you have the ability to help that recovery. You can do it through volunteer hours or cases that you accept."
Henry, a Houston-area native, said seeing large portions of the city in distress was challenging to report on.
"I remember looking over on the side of a highway overpass and seeing everything underwater for miles," she said. "I grew up here so of course it was emotional for me to experience. Reporters are trained just like police officers and firefighters to try not to let yourself get too emotionally involved. But every single day during the hurricane I cried. Seeing my city like this was really hard."
Despite the devastation of Harvey, Henry discussed how thousands of volunteers showed support to flood victims and how the Astros' win in the World Series helped raise morale.
"At the end of September and through October and November something really exciting happened," Henry said. "People that were affected by Harvey stopped what they were doing and watched baseball because it brought joy to them. They might have been living in a demolished home with nothing but a mattress, but they had electricity and set up TVs to watch the games. They had nothing, but yet they were happy because something brought joy to Houston."
Additional symposium speakers included professor Carl H. Esbeck, the R.B. Price Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of Missouri School of Law, James R. Layton, an attorney with Tueth, Keeney, Cooper, Mohan & Jackstadt P.C. and was Matt Sharp, who serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he directs the Center for Legislative Advocacy.
"The Championship Symposium is the perfect intersection between the real world and the world of moot court," said Jim Lawrence, director of the Law Center's Blakely Advocacy Institute. "Our speakers this year were actually involved in the case from which we created the problem. After one of the competition rounds, one of the students remarked that the only reason she knew the answer to the judges question during the round is because she attended the Symposium."
Attendees received four hours of continuing legal education credit, including an hour of ethics credit.