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Advocacy Programs

academic programs

William E. and Carol G. Simon Oral Advocacy Program

Through involvement in a variety of internal and inter-school competitions, students can build the persuasive legal skills needed in the boardroom and the courtroom. These include proficiency in written advocacy, as well as an ability to mold facts into a persuasive presentation, develop intellectual flexibility, anticipate and respond effectively to questions and function well under pressure. Students also gain another necessary quality of successful lawyers: self-confidence.

The Simon Oral Advocacy Program at BC Law is named in honor of the late William E. Simon Sr., former US Treasury Secretary and Chairman of the US Olympic Committee who established the educational and benevolent foundation, and his wife.

Students are able to build advocacy skills throughout their three years. First year students may participate in negotiation and client counseling competitions sponsored in conjunction with the American Bar Association. Role playing exercises are observed and evaluated by members of the faculty and practicing lawyers. Then, in the second year, the intramural moot court competition focuses on appellate advocacy. In the third year of law school, the internal mock trial competition is held and opportunities are available to compete with students from other law schools in various national advocacy competitions. All students are encouraged to develop and improve their advocacy skills by participating in these programs throughout their law school career.

First Year:

Negotiation Competition sponsored in conjunction with the ABA. First semester intramural competition, followed for the winners by Regional competition with teams from other law schools, and, with any luck, the National Competition in second semester. Professors Alan Minuskin and Paul Tremblay are the faculty advisors.

Client Counseling Competition also sponsored in conjunction with the ABA. Intramural competition, followed for the winners by Regional Competition with teams from other law schools and, with any luck, the National Competition in second semester. Professor Evangeline Sarda is the faculty advisor.

Second Year:

The Wendell F. Grimes Moot Court Competition in the second semester is essential for students aspiring to enter interscholastic competition and others who simply want to build their advocacy skills. Designed for second-year students, this internal competition is a prerequisite for selection for the external teams. Teams of two students write a brief for one side of a case and then argue orally before panels of judges drawn from the bench and bar. Multiple arguments insure that students get to argue both sides of the case. The Grimes finals, presided over by a distinguished panel, are the highlight of the year's advocacy programs. Professor Rosemary Daly is the faculty advisor.

Third Year:

The Mock Trial Competition is open to all third-year students. Following the internal competition in the Fall, teams are selected to compete against other law schools in the regional program. Regional winners advance to the National Finals held each year in Texas, usually in the second semester. Trial attorneys Cathy Bennett and Paul McManus are the faculty advisors.

The National Moot Court team participates in, one of the oldest and most prestigious moot court competitions in the country, sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers. The team writes a brief on a mock record prepared by the Young Lawyers Committee of the Bar of the City of New York, usually based on a case pending in the Supreme Court of the United States. The New England region holds mock appellate arguments in the Fall, and sends the top two teams to New York City for the finals in January. Professor Thomas Carey is the faculty advisor.

The Philip C. Jessup Moot Court team strives to compete internationally as well as regionally and nationally. Organized by the American Society of International Law, students write briefs on both sides of a legal issue and argue an appeal in a case that could come before the International Court of Justice. The Competition is nearly fifty years old. The National finals are held in Washington, D.C. The International finals are held in different countries each year. Because Boston College is hosting the New England regionals this year, Jessup rules require that our team must travel to another region to compete. Professors David Wirth and Thomas Carey are the faculty advisors, with additional assistance from a recent graduate familiar with the Jessup competition.

The European Union Law Moot Court team is a recent addition to our programs. Last year the team traveled to Madrid, Spain. This year Boston College Law School will host the American Regional rounds. As a result, our team must compete elsewhere. The other regionals are all in Europe. The Competition requires writing a brief, in English and French, and if invited to the oral rounds, the team must argue in both languages. Professor Vlad Perju is the faculty advisor.

The National Environmental Law Moot Court team challenges students to draft a brief and compete in mock oral argument in a simulated appellate case involving a cutting edge environmental issue. This National Competition is held in the second semester each year in White Plains, New York. Cases involve three parties and present the opportunity to argue on behalf of private and public interest clients. Professor Zygmunt Plater is the faculty advisor.

The J. Braxton Craven Moot Court team briefs and argues issues of constitutional law arising in mock civil or criminal cases. The team travels to North Carolina for the Competition. Professor Thomas Barnico is the faculty advisor.

The National Criminal Procedure Moot Court team briefs and argues a criminal procedure problem at a national competition held for participating law students in San Diego, California. Professor Robert Bloom is the faculty advisor.

The Frederick Douglass Moot Court team competes against other law school teams in a competition sponsored by BALSA, which focuses on issues important to minorities. Professor Rosemary Daly is the faculty advisor.

The Saul Lefkowitz Intellectual Property Moot Court team briefs and argues questions of trademark law in a competition sponsored by the Brand Names Education Foundation. The regional competition is usually held in New York. Professor Joseph Liu is the faculty advisor.

Religious Freedom Moot Court
Religious freedom, embodied in the twin Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment, is one of the fundamental guarantees of the United States Constitution and is a founding principle of our nation. Each year the Moot Court competition, hosted by George Washington University, focuses on a current religious freedom issue that implicates a First Amendment controversy. Professor Gregory Kalscheur, S.J. is the faculty advisor.

First Amendment Moot Court
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — the cornerstone of American democracy — is the focus of the National First Amendment Moot Court Competition. Recognized as one of the nation’s finest constitutional law competitions, this annual event features a current First Amendment controversy. Professor Rosemary Daly is the faculty advisor.

Immigration Law Moot Court
Teams from around the country participate in a weekend of arguments at NYU, centered around an immigration law problem. Professor Daniel Kanstroom is the faculty advisor.