Moot Court simulates one part of our legal system - appellate oral argument. Students learn about appellate advocacy by stepping into the role of an attorney and presenting a case in its most favorable light to a panel of judges. The attorney seeks to persuade the judges about the application of existing law to a hypothetical set of facts. Judges, in turn, examine the attorney’s line of argument by propounding difficult questions about its ramifications. The best oral arguments result in an erudite, and respectful, conversation between the attorney and judges. A lively exchange between participants often ensues.
Preparation for the Moot Court requires learning how to take apart a set of facts and applying current case law. JMU’s Moot Court program introduces students to this process by holding workshops in the spring and in the fall. Spring training involves learning how to read a case, analyzing it, and synthesizing its rulings with applicable cases.The spring program culminates in a practice simulation. Working with a new hypothetical set of facts and cases, the fall program builds on the skills acquired in the spring. An intramural competition will be conducted in the fall to choose who will represent JMU at the American Collegiate Moot Court Competition in November. Current team members act as mentors to the spring and fall participants. Speakers, field trips and social activities are also planned. Students will be eligible to register for one credit in connection with the programs in the spring and fall.
Students develop skills in public speaking/presentation, research, critical thinking, analysis, synthesis and argumentation. These skills, essential in law school and the courtroom, translate to many of the areas a student might wish to pursue upon graduation. Effectively presenting one’s views and thoughtfully responding to probing questions is useful in a corporate boardroom, a government agency, and graduate school and beyond.
For more information, please contact:
Professor Elaine Chisek, Department of Political Science
firstname.lastname@example.org, 8-3767, Miller Hall 2163