High-school Moot Court Competition
Moot court is a simulated oral argument, similar to an argument made before an appellate court. Students present legal arguments for their side and answer questions posed by the panel of judges, while asking the Court to uphold or overturn the previous court’s ruling. Moot Court is not a simulation of a trial, so there are no witnesses or discussions of evidence. Moot court arguments are evaluated on the application of the law to the facts of the case. By focusing on the applicability of Constitutional law to current legal issues, Moot Court competition provides students with an opportunity to strengthen their reasoning skills and increase their understanding of the Constitution and the judicial system. The competitions listed below are open to high-school students across the nation, the most prestigious of which is the Washington College of Law's We the Students competition each spring.
American University's Washington College of Law (WCL) is the host of the nation's premier "We the Students" National high school Moot Court competition each year, bringing together high school students from across the United States and abroad to showcase their oral advocacy skills. Students compete in moot appellate arguments to test their understanding of cutting-edge legal questions. By focusing on the applicability of current legal issues to the high school setting, this competition provides students with a unique opportunity to strengthen their reasoning skills and increase their understanding of the Constitution and the judicial system. Hosted annually by American University’s Washington College of Law, this two-day competition introduces competitors to 1st and 4th Amendment issues and other contemporary legal topics. Each competitor is assigned to argue as either Petitioner or Respondent (not both). All high school students are welcome to register - students travel to Washington D. C. in March to compete. The top 10 Petitioners and top 10 Respondents advance to quarter-finals, then top 5 to semi-finals, with the top 2 Petitioners and Respondents advancing to Finals. The Best Petitioner and Best Respondent "win" the competition, therefore each competitor is scored only against those assigned to his/her side.
Registration: early registration opens in the September-October timeframe until January (check the website). Register immediately as slots fill quickly. If multiple students are attending from the same club or area, it's best to register as a school to get an equal distribution of Petitioner-Respondent assignments and so students don't compete against each other at the tournament.
The Duke Moot Court (DMC) high school tournament is an annual competition for high school students from across the nation. Each Fall, teams of two students submit an essay on a specific Supreme Court decision in order to enter the tournament - the top 42 teams are accepted. These teams are given a Constitutional Law case (e.g. whether the individual mandate and medicaid changes in the Healthcare bill exceeds the powers of the Federal Government under the Commerce clause of the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution) and must prepare to argue both sides of the case. Teams travel to Duke for the two-day long tournament in February.
Registration: the essay prompt to enter the tournament is published in September (check their website) and teams are notified in December if they have been accepted into the competition. Teams from the same club or area are encouraged to register as the same school so students don't compete against each other during the preliminary rounds.
The Princeton Mock Trial team holds a semi-annual high-school Moot Court tournament each November and April. Participants spend two days on the campus of Princeton University and compete in four preliminary rounds in two-person teams. Afterward, the top sixteen teams move on to the playoff rounds, and the tournament culminates with the final round.
JOIN US for MOOT COURT CAMP this summer to prep for the exciting competition season ahead! Our June 27-29th camp is modeled after the WCL competition, using the 2011 WCL competition case!