Willamette University College of Law hosted the annual National Appellate Advocacy Competition last week, where six teams of two students argued a criminal matter in front of judges. On October 13, after a few nights of competition, the judges announced the winners as third-year law students Stephanie Case and Kyle Vinyard.
Lauren Barnes, vice president of the Moot Court Board, said competitors were given a criminal fact pattern in the middle of September. Teams then spent ten days writing briefs that were submitted to local attorneys and judges to be graded.
“There were two issues that the competitors had to address,” Barnes said. “One issue revolved around the admissibility of a statement under the rules of evidence. The other issue was about whether the admission of that statement would violate a defendant’s rights under the Confrontation Clause of the United States Constitution.”
Last week, teams presented oral arguments to panels of judges. Barnes said they were scored based on knowledgeability of the law, responses to questions and professionalism.
“Going into the competition I was nervous, but I also knew that my partner and I had prepared, so that was reassuring,” Case said.
Case said the experience was challenging but fun, and she learned a lot from the judges’ thorough feedback. She said she’s considering trying a trial competition later on in the school year.
“Competing is a rewarding learning experience and an opportunity to work with new people and meet other students and local attorneys,” Case said. “I would encourage all 2L and 3L law students to get involved in Moot Court, whether they are a member or not, and participate in at least one competition.”
Barnes said Willamette’s NAAC competition is a feeder for the regional NAAC competition run by the American Bar Association. Although winners from Willamette are invited, they are not obligated to compete.
About Moot Court Board
Willamette University College of Law Moot Court Board promotes the art of appellate and trial advocacy by sponsoring various competitions and providing educational seminars. Moot Court Board is committed to helping Willamette Law students improve their skills as advocates in a competitive environment.
About Willamette University College of Law
Opened in 1883, Willamette University College of Law is the first law school in the Pacific Northwest. The college has a long tradition at the forefront of legal education and is committed to the advancement of knowledge through excellent teaching, scholarship, mentoring and experience. Leading faculty, thriving externship and clinical law programs, ample practical skills courses, and a proactive career placement office prepare Willamette law students for today's legal job market. According to statistics compiled by the American Bar Association, Willamette ranks first in the Pacific Northwest for job placement for full-time, long-term, JD-preferred/JD-required jobs for the class of 2014 and first in Oregon for the classes of 2012, 2013 and 2014. Located across the street from the state capitol complex and the Oregon Supreme Court in downtown Salem, the college specializes in law and government, law and business, and dispute resolution.