Wednesday, September 23, 2020
If you want to be impressed by student advocacy skills, volunteer as an American Moot Court Association judge
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of serving via Zoom as a moot court judge for a regional undergraduate moot court competition hosted by the U.S. Air Force Academy and sponsored by the American Moot Court Association. Until a few years ago, I didn't know anything about the intercollegiate moot court competition circuit run by the AMCA. But as a visiting professor at the Air Force Academy in 2016-17, I helped judge a few arguments for the cadets who have excelled at these competitions over the years. At the time, I was blown away by the quality of the student arguments I saw from everyone who participated. It was especially impressive to me because all the advocates are college students who, unlike their law school counterparts, are not totally immersed in legal studies but instead take law-related courses as only a small portion of their overall coursework. Yet these college students perform equal to, if not better, than many law school moot court teams I've seen. They argue and distinguish the facts of the precedents, handle questions from the bench, and know the factual record and relevant cases just like the pros.
This past weekend was no exception. The students I saw were exceptionally well prepared and skilled advocates. Consequently, I would wholeheartedly recommend the experience to any law professor, lawyer or even upper class law student. You'll be duly impressed and inspired by preparation and skill level of these college students. And you'd really be helping out since the organizers of these regional AMCA competitions are always looking for volunteer judges to fill the rounds. Since all the competitions are being held remotely via Zoom, you don't have to travel to judge a round or two. You can just roll out of bed and do it from the comfort of your home.
Check out the schedule of remaining regional competitions here and consider volunteering as a judge (you may want to forward this post to the moot court teams at your law school as some members would really enjoy the experience; I know they'd be impressed and inspired by the skill level of these college students).
In particular there are regional competitions scheduled at Texas A&M University School of Law, on October 31-November 1, 2020 and at Fitchburg State University, in November 20-21, 2020 that still need volunteer judges.
Lastly, a big thanks and congratulations to Professor Doug McKecknie (USAFA) who's a logistical superstar for organizing last weekend's competition including coordinating with numerous volunteer judges across many time zones. Excellent job, sir!