Appellate Moot Court Competitions

  • Our Teams

    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 MSU Law team earned a #1 national ranking for the 2019-20 season.

    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.

  • Why Compete?

    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.
  • Awards

    Spring 2020
    Champions, NYU Immigration Law Moot Court Competition
    Best Brief, NYU Immigration Law Moot Court Competition
    Champions (Oklahoma City Regionals), ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition
    First and Third Place Oralists (Oklahoma City Regionals), ABA NAAC
    Best Brief, ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition (Nationals)
    Third Place Respondent Brief, Gibbons Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition
    Third Place Oralist, Evan Evans Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition
    Second Place Respondent Brief, Evan Evans Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition
    Finalist, National Native American Law Student Association Moot Court Competition
    Finalist, Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition in Trademark Law (Regionals)
    Second Place, Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition in Trademark Law (Nationals)
    Best Oralists, Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition in Trademark Law (Nationals)
    Finalist (regionals), AIPLA Giles Sutherland Rich Moot Court Competition
    Quarterfinalist (nationals), AIPLA Giles Sutherland Rich Moot Court Competition

    Fall 2019
    Finalist, Appellate Lawyers Association Moot Court Competition
    Semifinalist, Zehmer Workers Compensation Law Moot Court Competition
    Best Brief, Zehmer Workers Compensation Law Moot Court Competition
    Semifinalist, Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court Comeptition
    Semifinalist, Billings Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition
    Best Brief, Billings Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition

    Spring 2019
    Champions, McGee Civil Rights Moot Court Competition
    Second Place Brief, McGee Civil Rights Moot Court Competition
    Semifinalist, ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition (Boston Regionals)
    Quarterfinalist, Sutherland Cup First Amendment Moot Court Competition
    Second place oralist, Sutherland Cup First Amendment Moot Court Competition
    Quarterfinalist, Gibbons Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition
    Finalist (regionals), AIPLA Giles Sutherland Rich Moot Court Competition
    Quarterfinalist (nationals), AIPLA Giles Sutherland Rich Moot Court Competition
    Fourth Place Brief, Kurth Moot Court National Championship Competition

    Fall 2018
    Finalist, Wechsler First Amendment Competition
    Semifinalist, Billings Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition
    Semifinalist, ABA First Amendment and Media Law Diversity Moot Court Competition
    Quarterfinalist, Zehmer Workers Compensation Law Moot Court Competition
    Quarterfinalist, National Latino/Latina Law Student Association Moot Court Competition

    Spring 2018
    Semifinalist, Jessup International Moot Court Regionals
    Fifth Place Brief, Jessup International Moot Court Regionals
    Fourth Place Brief, Kurth Moot Court National Championship Competition
    Finalist and Semifinalist (2 teams), ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition (Manhattan Regionals)
    Fourth and Seventh place oralists, ABA NAAC (Manhattan Regionals)
    Fifth place brief, ABA NAAC (Manhattan Regionals)
    Semifinalist, Williams Institute Moot Court Competition
    Semifinalist and Octafinalist (2 teams), National Competition in Child Welfare and Adoption Law
    Third place brief, National Competition in Child Welfare and Adoption Law
    Octafinalist, Jerome Prince Memorial Evidence Competition
    Regional Semifinalist, AIPLA Giles Sutherland Rich Moot Court Competition
    Finalist, Kaufman Memorial Securities Law Competition
    Second Place Brief, Kaufman Memorial Securities Law Competition

    Fall 2017
    Finalist, Wechsler First Amendment Competition
    Best Brief, Wechsler First Amendment Competition
    Finalist, Notre Dame Religious Freedom Competition

    Spring 2017
    First Place Oralist, Ruby Vale Corporate Law Moot Court Competition
    Finalist, Ruby Vale Corporate Law Moot Court Competition
    Second Place Petitioner Brief, Gibbons Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition
    Fifth Place Oralist, Gibbons Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition
    Quarterfinalist, Gibbons Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition
    First Place Oralists, Giles Sutherland Patent Law Moot Court Regionals
    Semifinalist, Giles Sutherland Patent Law Moot Court Regionals
    First Place Brief, National Moot Court Competition in Child Welfare & Adoption Law
    Third, Sixth, and Eighth Place Oralists, National Moot Court Competition in Child Welfare & Adoption Law
    Octafinalists (2 teams), National Moot Court Competition in Child Welfare & Adoption Law
    First Place Brief, Frederick Douglass Midwest Regional BLSA Moot Court Competition
    First Place Oralist, Frederick Douglass Midwest Regional BLSA Moot Court Competition
    Finalists (2 teams), ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition (St. Louis Regionals)
    First Place Brief, ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition (St. Louis Regionals)
    Second Place Oralist, ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition (St. Louis Regionals)
    First Place Brief, Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition
    Quarterfinalist, Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition
    Third Place Oralist, Jessup International Law Midwest Regional Competition
    Octafinalist, Evan Evans Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition

    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