Frequently Asked Questions
Moot Court and advocacy programs offer valuable research, writing and oral advocacy experience that will help you in your legal career. They also help develop skills that many employers seek, particularly if you're an aspiring litigator or hope to do a judicial clerkship after graduation. And, many private firms look for either journal experience or advanced moot court experience as one criterion for hiring.
First Year Moot Court
Q: Where can I find more information about 1L moot court?
A: The J. Newton Esdaile Appellate Moot Court Program for first year law students is run as part of the First Year Legal Writing Program. A basic overview may be found here. Details about the program are made available on the Blackboard Learn page for the First Year Legal Writing Program, which all enrolled first year students have access to. All first year students must complete the Esdaile moot court program.
Second Year Moot Court (Stone and Albers)
Q: Can anyone do moot court in their second year?
A: Yes! The Edward C. Stone Moot Court Competition, which takes place during the fall semester, is open to all second year law students. Details about Stone Moot Court can be found here.
Q: Why should I do the Stone competition? 2L fall is already really busy.
A: There are several reasons you should consider doing Stone. First, participation in and completion of the Stone competition is a prerequisite for participation on any Intermural team funded by BU Law. This includes not only the official Intermural teams, but any moot court team that the Appellate Advocacy Program is funding, including student group-organized teams and independent teams.
Second, the top thirty-two Stone participants will be invited to participate in the Homer Albers Prize Moot Court Competition, which is both an honor and a chance to further hone your persuasive writing and oral advocacy skills.
Finally, both Stone and Albers offer a unique chance to receive feedback on your writing and oral advocacy skills from more experienced students and to network with BU Law alumni.
Q: How time-consuming is Stone?
A: Stone is as much work as you make it. Although the problems are more complex than the problems you tackled as a first year student in Esdaile, the brief-writing process is somewhat similar in terms of the number of total hours. You have three weeks to draft the brief, and you are sharing some of the work with another person. You will certainly be busy during the brief-writing period, and should plan accordingly. You may choose to practice as much (or frankly, as little!) as you wish for the oral advocacy component. You only argue once, so once you have been scheduled, you will know when you are going and can plan accordingly. Keep in mind that participating in Stone can still be a valuable experience, even if you are not able to devote quite as much time as you would like to the competition.
Q: How much work is Albers?
A: Albers is a larger time commitment than Stone. The brief-writing period is slightly longer than in Stone, and the issues are more complex. Additionally, every team will argue at least twice. Every team will also argue "off brief," that is, the side opposite from that which they briefed. Some students find this more challenging and thus, find that they need more time to prepare. At a minimum, the competition will span from the end of January through the middle of March.
The two teams that make the finals will end up arguing five times; for them, the competition will span from the end of January through the middle of April.
Q: I'm still not sure if I should compete in Stone (or Albers, if I am chosen). Who can I talk to?
A: If you have concerns about the time commitment for the 2L moot court competitions, you can talk to Jen McCloskey, the Associate Director of the Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy Program. Her office is in Room 510B, and she can be reached at email@example.com. You should also feel free to reach out to any of the current Moot Court Directors or team members listed here. You can find their email addresses in the BU Directory.
Intermural Moot Court Competitions and Moot Court Boards
Q: How do students get chosen to be on a team or a board?
A: BU Law's moot court boards and official Intermural teams are chosen each spring. Interested 2Ls who have completed the Stone competition may apply to be on almost any team or board (Albers directorships and the National Moot Court team are limited to Albers participants). Preference is given to Albers participants, and among those, to the participants who advanced furthest in the competition.
Q: You keep saying official team. What does that mean? Are there other teams?
A: BU Law's official Intermural teams are the moot court competitions that the Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy Program has committed to participating in each year. These competitions are "the cream of the crop," and we know from experience that they are well-run, with interesting problems. As such, they attract strong competitors and are generally well-respected in the legal community.
There are, however, hundreds of moot court competitions, on almost every legal topic imaginable! Although the program has a limited budget, we aim to provide every interested student the opportunity to compete in moot court. As such, the program funds additional competitions as our budget permits. These competitions typically come in one of two varieties.
First, if the national organization for a given BU Law student organization runs a moot court competition (e.g., the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, which oversees APALSA, runs the Thomas Tang National Moot Court Competition), that student organization can put together a moot court team to participate in that competition. If you are interested in one of these competitions, you should ask the appropriate student organization for details on how to participate. If you are a student organization seeking to get involved in a moot court competition, please contact Jen McCloskey (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information. Funding is limited; preference is generally given to teams that have participated in their competitions in previous years.
Second, students or faculty interested in a very specialized area of law may wish to participate in a moot court competition that focuses on that area of law. Students or faculty interested in forming a team for such a competition should again contact Jen McCloskey (email@example.com) for more information. Generally speaking, team funding is approved on a first-come basis, subject to our remaining available funding. Student-initiated teams must have a faculty coach or supervisor who specializes in the relevant area of law and who is willing to practice with the team prior to the competition (the faculty coach need not be able to attend the competition).
Stone moot court is still a prerequisite for participation in any Intermural moot court competition.
Q: How does traveling to competitions work? Who pays for everything?
A: The Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy Program provides both administrative support and funding to all of BU Law's Intermural moot court teams. The program will register the team and pay the registration fee. Our program coordinator works with the team to schedule the team's travel and accommodations. Generally, the program is able to pay directly for registration fees and travel. Team members typically must pay for their hotels and incidental expenses up front, including food, and get reimbursed following the competition. The program coordinator works closely with each team.
Q: How does being on a board work?
A: BU Law's three internal moot court competitions (Esdaile, Stone, and Albers) are run by student directors. Directors are third year students, selected at the end of their second year through an application process. Directors draft the moot court problems and bench memos (with supervision through the Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy Program). They also schedule and run the oral arguments for each program. Directors receive three academic credits for their work, and can satisfy the school's upper class writing requirement via the bench memo.
Negotiation and Client Counseling Competitions
Q: Who can participate in the Negotiation or Client Counseling competitions?
A: Any student! These ABA-run competitions are open to all students. The competitions are, however, typically limited in size, so applicants from each class are selected via lottery. Information can be found on the respective competition pages in the sidebar.
Q: Both of these competitions are during really busy times of the year. Why should I do them?
A: Both competitions offer students a chance to exercise important client-focused skills. Neither competition requires a written component, which means that participating in the intramural competition requires of a time commitment than other competitions. Students should still be prepared to work hard, however: The top two teams from each competition get to travel to the ABA Regional Round (and have a chance to move on from there to the National or even International rounds!).
The Negotiation and Client Counseling competitions are also fun! Students get to work in teams to solve realistic legal problems in a tight time frame. The local attorneys who judge the rounds typically provide great feedback to the students, and you will have a chance to network with them.