Mock Oral Argument

Moot Courts

Moot courts provide training in written and oral advocacy by giving students mock problems involving current real-world legal issues. Students then argue the cases to appellate courts, using the techniques and processes of real lawyers.

Moot courts are taught by full-time clinical faculty members with practice experience, adjunct attorneys and judges.

Civil Rights Moot Court

Participants develop extensive knowledge about civil rights law, improve writing skills, and receive extensive training and practice in oral advocacy. The University of Minnesota competes in the William E. McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court competition.

Environmental Law Moot Court

Students are introduced to the art of appellate advocacy through focus on current issues in environmental law. Students research two areas, write a summary judgment motion and appellate brief. Students also do one argument based on the summary judgment topic, then, after coaching on substantive and stylistic aspects of their oral presentation, present a final oral argument. Practicing environmental attorneys evaluate each presentation. The University of Minnesota competes in the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition in White Plains, NY, with participants selected on the basis of the summary judgment motion and oral argument.

Intellectual Property Moot Court

Students advance their research, writing, and oral advocacy skills using case problems based primarily on patent, copyright, and trademark issues. Students present oral arguments and draft appellate briefs, refining both for a final presentation in courtrooms to attorneys practicing in intellectual property law. Two student directors are chosen to participate in the Giles Sutherland Rich Moot Court that takes place in four regional competitions, with two top teams from each region advancing to the national championship in Washington, D.C.

International Moot Court

The case problem presents a hypothetical lawsuit between two countries before the International Court of Justice. Each participant writes a brief and prepares an oral argument. The Law School competes in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. The team competes regionally to advance to nationals at regionals advance to nationals in Washington, D.C. In recent years, Minnesota’s International Moot Court team has won a number of regional competitions, placed well at nationals, and brought home speaker and brief awards.

Maynard Pirsig Moot Court

Students are introduced to practical writing and oral argument exercises common in modern litigation. Directors from each section nominate the best brief for the best brief tournament and the best oralist for the best oralist tournament. Competitors in the best oralist tournament argue in front of practicing attorneys and judges, and the finals are typically judged by Justices on the Minnesota Supreme Court. Only participants in the Maynard Pirsig Moot Court are eligible to try out for the ABA Competition team. In recent years, the ABA Moot Court team has been highly successful, regularly advancing from regional to national competition, and winning numerous speaking and brief awards.

National Moot Court

Students focus on constitutional and statutory law issues through writing briefs and preparing oral arguments. The Law School’s team competes with approximately 150 law schools in the National Moot Court Competition, sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Young Lawyers Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. The topics selected are statutory or constitutional issues of current national interest. Members compete regionally and, if successful, go on to the nationals in New York City in January. The University of Minnesota’s team has advanced to the national level in 19 of the past 33 years, including 10 of the last 13.



  • Pamela Siege Chandler

    Pamela Siege Chandler (ʼ95)

    Hands-on Experience

    “National Moot Court was one of the most valuable experiences of my law school career. Not only did I have the opportunity to take my legal writing and oral argument skills to a new level, I also developed relationships with my teammates that were truly a highlight of my 3L year. ”
    Vice President and Publisher, West Academic

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