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IN-SCHOOL COMPETITIONS 

Advanced Moot Court Competition

The Advanced Moot Court Competition begins shortly after Labor Day. This competition gives second- and third-year students the opportunity to practice and improve skills in appellate advocacy. Teams of two students write an appellate brief and then present oral arguments. Each team argues both the petitioner's and respondent's position. The brief is due in September and the competition begins in October.

First-year students may serve as bailiffs during oral arguments, giving them an opportunity to observe appellate advocacy before competing in the Freshman Moot Court Competition in the spring semester. Participation as a bailiff does not count toward Moot Court credit.

Scores on the brief and from oral arguments are a factor determining eligibility for membership on the Moot Court Board. Successful completion of the competition goes toward obtaining credit for graduation.

The problem for the Advanced Moot Court Competition is prepared under the direction of the Associate Justice for the Advanced Competition and is distributed as a part of the Advanced Appellate Advocacy curriculum.

Past winners:

  • Dylan Gillespie and McKenzie Reed (2015)
    • Topic: Panhandlers' First and Fourth Amendment Rights

If you have any questions regarding this competition, please contact Elizabeth Booker, the Associate Justice for the Advanced Competition, at ebbooker@memphis.edu

A student's perspective:

"Working with a partner makes this competition slightly less nerve-wracking than the Freshman. I had a great experience. I believe both my oral argument skills and courtroom demeanor improved during the competition. I received constructive criticism that was helpful." - Madison Patey

Mock Trial Competition

The Mock Trial Competition is held at the beginning of each spring semester. It is open to second- and third-year students, offering them an opportunity to practice and improve skills in trial advocacy. Two-person teams submit a a motion and trial notebook and participate in a mock trial. Each team represents both the plaintiff and the defendant.

The plaintiff team for each round must provide two witnesses and a bailiff. The defendant also must provide two witnesses. It is each team's duty to ensure that witnesses are briefed and prepared to testify. Participating as a witness or a bailiff provides first-year students with an opportunity to experience trial advocacy. Participation as a bailiff or a witness does not count towards Moot Court credit.

Students need not have completed Trial Advocacy or Evidence in order to compete successfully, although it is suggested.

Scores on the trial notebook and from performance on oral arguments are factors in determining eligibility for membership on the Moot Court Board. Successful completion of the competition goes towards obtaining credit for graduation.

Past winners:

  • Will Hampton and Quynh-Anh Dang (2016)

If you have any questions regarding this competition, please contact Bob Huddleston, the Associate Justice for Mock Trial at bghddlst@memphis.edu.

First Year Moot Court Competition

The First Year Moot Court Competition begins after Spring Break. The First Year Moot Court Competition is open only to first-year students. The competition is held each year during the spring semester, providing first-year students with the opportunity to practice and improve skills in appellate advocacy. Teams of two present oral arguments based on the Legal Methods II appellate brief assignment. Each team member argues both the petitioner's and respondent's position. The scores for the competition are based solely on performance during the oral arguments.

The petitioner team must provide the bailiff for the round. The bailiff may be anyone who is not currently a participant in the competition.

Scores from performance during oral arguments are a factor in determining eligibility for membership on the Moot Court Board. Successful completion of the competition goes toward obtaining Moot Court credit for graduation.

The problem for the First Year Moot Court Competition is written by members of the Moot Court Board under the direction of the Associate Justice for the First Year Competition and is distributed as a part of the Legal Methods II curriculum.

Past winners:

  • Maggie McGowan (2016)
  • Zach Johnson (2015)
  • Preston Battle (2014)

If you have any questions regarding this competition, please contact Erica Coleman, the Associate Justice for the First Year Competition, at npeoples@memphis.edu.

A student's perspective:

"This competition requires one to be flexible, because you never know what questions you will get from a judge. Win or lose, this competition is a great experience. Everyone's in the same boat, which means you have the potential to be the best if you drop your nerves and give it your all!" - Ashley Finch

Pointers for Credit-Worthy Oral Arguments

Judges typically look for:

  • Forensic Ability
  • Knowledge of the Law
  • Responsiveness to Questions
  • Argument Form
  • Argument Substance
  • Appropriate Attire
  • Deference to the Court
  • Persuasiveness