MSU College of Law

Appellate Moot Court Competitions

Appellate Competition Teams (Appellate Advocacy): As members of an appellate moot court competition team, MSU College of Law students have the opportunity to argue in law schools and courtrooms throughout the country, practicing their oral advocacy skills before prominent judges, attorneys, and law professors. For example, in the fall of 2012, MSU's Burton D. Wechsler First Amendment Law team appeared in the final round before a bench that included: the Honorable Paul D. Clement, 43rd Solicitor General of the United States; the Honorable Denny Chin of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals; the Honorable Marsha S. Berzon of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; the Honorable Timothy B. Dyk of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; and the Honorable Reggie Walton of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. MSU College of Law is extremely successful in moot court; in 2015 the College of Law bested 201 other teams to claim the title of National Champions at the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition. The moot program at the College of Law is currently ranked #9 in the country.

Appellate moot court competition selection varies year-to-year based largely on student interest, as well as budget, travel, coach availability, and other factors. Each year, MSU College of Law attends competitions that focus on a wide variety of topic areas. In the past, topic areas have included: criminal law and procedure, evidence, corporate law, animal law, family law, First Amendment free speech, constitutional law, international law, religion, employment law, IP (trademark and patent), sexual orientation and gender identity law, general federal law (topic varies), and tax law, as well as a number of student bar association competitions (for example, HNBA, BLSA, and NNALSA competitions).

1Ls and 2Ls who have successfully completed (or are in the process of completing) appellate advocacy may try out for an appellate moot court team in April of their 1L and/or 2L years. Most students must complete a fall Moot Court Competition class before proceeding to interscholastic competition. Students interested in trying out for a moot court competition team must submit an application by the assigned deadline (usually in April) and must attend a short tryout/interview.

Moot court can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will have in law school and will provide skills training that will be beneficial for years to come. Moot court competitions are one of the oldest traditions in legal education and are a rite of passage for many law students.

  • Build skills and experiment. You'll practice public speaking, structuring legal arguments, preparing briefs, developing professional judgment, and analyzing cases. Unlike most legal clinics, moot court develops skills in a relatively low-risk environment. With no actual clients, you'll have the opportunity to experiment with speaking styles and argumentation strategies.
  • Network nationwide. Your competition experience helps you market yourself to potential employers in cities across the United States. Know where you want to practice? You might be able to compete there and impress local judges and attorneys. If you're looking to practice in a substantive area, you can connect with practitioners who specialize n that area. Our students have received job leads or offers as a direct result of their participation in a particular competition.
  • Grow your expertise. You can gain more in-depth knowledge of areas that you care about – IP, animal law, criminal law, evidence, and many others. Researching and developing arguments will deepen your learning on topics that often appear on the bar exam and in practice.
  • Make lifelong friends. Students on moot court teams develop friendships (and professional connections) that last for years. An example? Bill and Hillary Clinton were moot court partners at Yale.
  • Have fun. No, really – it is one of the few opportunities you'll have to participate in a fast-paced game that rewards creativity, strategy, and hard work in a relatively low-risk environment. Our teams travel around country, exploring different cities, and enjoying new experiences.

Fall 2016
Champions, Burton D. Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court Competition
Semifinalist, Chicago Bar Association Moot Court Competition
First Place Oralist, Chicago Bar Association Moot Court Competition

Spring 2016
Ranked #11 in the Nation, University of Houston National Moot Court Rankings
Regional Champions and Finalists (2 teams), ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition
Third and Sixth Place Regional Oralists, ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition
Fifth Place Regional Brief, ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition
Semifinalist, National Animal Law Moot Court Competition
Octafinalist, Gibbons Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition
Regional Champions, Frederick Douglass BLSA Moot Court Competition
Quarterfinalist, Billings Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition
Fifth Place (Quarterfinalist), Kurth “Best of the Best” Moot Court Championship

Fall 2015
Champions, Burton D. Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court Competition
Best Brief, Burton D. Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court Competition
Champions, Chicago Bar Association Moot Court Competition
Regional Finalist and National Qualifier, National Moot Court Competition

Spring 2015
Ranked #9 in the Nation, University of Houston National Moot Court Rankings
National Champions, ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition
Ninth Place Oralist, ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition
Second Place Regional Brief, ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition
Fifth Best Regional Oralist, ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition
Finalist, National Animal Law Moot Court Competition
Semifinalist, Gibbons Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition
Quarterfinalist, Billings Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition
Quarterfinalist, NNALSA Moot Court Competition

Fall 2014
Semi-Finalist, Burton D. Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court Competition
Regional Finalist and National Qualifier, National Moot Court Competition
Best Oral Advocate, Regionals, National Moot Court Competition

Spring 2014
Semi-Finalist, Regionals, ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition
Quarterfinalist, Andrews Kurth Moot Court “Best of the Best” National Championship
Third Place Brief, Andrews Kurth Moot Court “Best of the Best” National Championship
Quarterfinalist, Vanderbilt First Amendment Moot Court Competition
Quarterfinalist (Regionals), Jessup International Moot Court Competition
Finalist, Niagara International Moot Court Competition
Quarterfinalists (two teams), Williams Institute Moot Court Competition

Fall 2013
Semi-Finalist, Burton D. Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court Competition
Quarterfinalist, San Diego Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition
Third Place Brief, San Diego Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition
Octofinalist, Emory Civil Rights and Liberties Moot Court Competition
Semi-Finalist and National Qualifier, National Moot Court Competition
Best Brief (Regionals), National Moot Court Competition

Spring 2013
Ranked #15 in the Nation, University of Houston National Moot Court Rankings
National Champions, William E. McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition
Top Oralist, William E. McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition
Best Brief, Ruby R. Vale Interschool Corporate Moot Court Competition
Semifinalist, Vanderbilt First Amendment Moot Court Competition
Quarterfinalist, Jerome Prince Memorial Evidence Moot Court Competition
Quarterfinalist, Niagara International Moot Court Competition
Second Place Oral Advocate, Niagara International Moot Court Competition

Fall 2012
Finalist, Burton D. Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court Competition
Best Oral Advocate, Burton D. Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court Competition
Octofinalist, Emory Civil Rights and Liberties Moot Court Competition
Quarterfinalist, San Diego Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition
Third Place Brief, San Diego Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition

Spring 2012
Ranked #12 in the Nation, Law School Advocacy Online Rankings
National Champions, Dean Jerome Prince Memorial Moot Court Competition
Quarterfinalist, William E. McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition
Regional Finalists and International Qualifiers, Jessup International Moot Court Competition