Becoming a Member
Moot Court is a mock appellate advocacy experience that helps law students develop the following skills to practice law:
- strong writing and oral advocacy skills;
- intellectual flexibility;
- the ability to function well under pressure; and
- the self-confidence necessary to be successful advocates.
Similar to law review, Moot Court gives law students an opportunity to focus on a single issue, prepare an in-depth written product and improve their writing. Also like law review, employers directly recruit from our Moot Court Board. Moot Court sends 16-17 teams to compete in competitions across the country in a variety of subjects. Competitors, also known as “mooters,” work on teams to write briefs and prepare oral arguments as if they were appearing before an appellate court.
Admission as a First-Year Student
First-year students are selected for the Moot Court Board at the end of the spring semester through a competitive tryout that simulates a Moot Court competition. Generally, the tryout consists of an appellate brief and oral argument. The Moot Court Board invites 35 first-year students to join Moot Court, making this our largest membership drive.
Admission as a Second-Year Student
A limited number of invitations to join the Moot Court Board are available to second-year students, who can join through the Omar Megahed Competition in the fall semester or through the Heffernan Appellate Advocacy Course in the spring semester.
- Omar Megahed Competition. Each fall, second-year students can compete in an intramural appellate advocacy competition in which competitors prepare arguments from a pre-written brief. This is not a course and there is no academic credit. Depending on the number of competitors, between two and four finalists are invited to join the Moot Court Board.
- Heffernan Appellate Advocacy Course. In the spring, second-year students may enroll in a one-semester seminar devoted to appellate advocacy. This seminar is named in honor of former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Nathan Heffernan. Students write a brief and compete in a mock appellate advocacy competition. The finalists are invited to join the Moot Court Board for competition.
In addition, several student organizations provide moot court opportunities outside of the law school’s official Moot Court Board. For example, students interested in a similar program that focuses on the trial court experience, should check out the Mock Trial Program.
Each team, which is composed of two to four members and one coach, competes in one competition only. Each competition requires a brief, and generally about one month is allowed for brief preparation. Following service of briefs, generally another month is allowed for the preparation of oral arguments. Most competitions require teams to argue both sides of the case, which provides an excellent learning experience and helps deepen analytical thinking.
Moot court teams compete with other law schools. Travel and most expenses associated with competing are funded by the Moot Court Board. Competitors receive three course credits for their work during the semester that they compete.