Competitions are a fun and exciting way for law students to learn and practice skills necessary for effective law practice. Opportunities include writing, client counseling, negotiation, trial practice and moot court competitions and include both intra- and inter-school programs. Many provide chances for travel and getting to work closely with other students and faculty advisers.
Teams selected through internal competitions or application processes
National Moot Court Competition (Appellate Advocacy)
The National Moot Court Competition is sponsored by the NYC Bar Association and the American College of Trial Lawyers. Team members are selected from students who take the Appellate Advocacy course sequence which involves two in-school competitions. Briefs are due in mid October. The regional competition will be in November, and national finals are in late January or February in New York
Contact: Dean Ellen Suni
ABA Negotiation Competition
The ABA Law Student Division Negotiation Competition simulates legal negotiations in which law students, acting as lawyers, negotiate a series of legal problems. Tryouts to compete in the annual ABA Negotiating Competition are held in September. Teams consist of four to six members and two alternates. The UMKC teams have advanced to the national finals 17 of the past 23 years. Regionals are generally held in early November and the national competition is generally in early February. Each year’s competition focuses on a different area of law. To learn more, see the ABA website.
Contacts: Professor Robert Downs and Professor Tony Luppino
ABA Client Counseling Competition
The ABA Law Student Division Client Counseling Competition simulates a law office consultation in which law students, acting as attorneys, are presented with a client matter. They conduct an interview with a person playing the role of the client and then explain how they would proceed further in the hypothetical situation. The team(s) are selected through an in-house competition that will be held in November. Teams practice over the winter holiday and during the month of January, in preparation for the early February competition. Each year’s competition focuses on a different area of law. To learn more, see the ABA website.
Contact: Associate Dean Barbara Glesner Fines
ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition
The ABA Law Student Division National Appellate Advocacy Competition (NAAC) emphasizes the development of oral advocacy skills through a realistic appellate advocacy experience. Competitors participate in a hypothetical appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The competition involves writing a brief as either respondent or petitioner and then arguing the case in front of the mock court. Teams are selected through an application process in October. Briefs are due in early January and the regional competition will be in February or March. Finals are in mid April. For more information see the ABA website.
Contact: Dean Ellen Suni
ELSA World Trade Organization Moot Court Competition (International Law)
This competition simulates a hearing in the World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement system. Competitors argue issues arising from a set of trade dispute between two fictitious WTO nations and must interpret the international treaties comprising WTO law. Competitor teams represent both the complainant nation and the respondent nation by submitting written briefs and then by presenting oral arguments in front of a panel consisting of WTO law experts. The competition provides students with the opportunity to put theory into practice, thereby complimenting their formal legal education. Written briefs are due in mid-January. The first oral round is typically one which is North America-wide and is held in early March. The final round is held in Europe. The competition is sponsored by the European Law Students' Association (ELSA). Read more about this competition at the ELSA website.
Contact: Professor Tim Lynch
Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court
The Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition is a trilingual (English, Portuguese, and Spanish) competition established to train law students how to use the Inter-American human rights legal system as a legitimate forum for redressing human rights violations. Written on a cutting-edge topic currently debated within the system, the hypothetical case operates as the basis of the competition. Students argue the merits of this case by writing legal memoranda and preparing oral arguments for presentation in front of human rights experts. The problem is generally released in early December. The brief is due at the end of March, and the competition is in May. For more information, see the competition website.
Contact: Professor Rana Lehr-Lehnardt
Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition
This is the world’s oldest and largest international law competition with more than 500 schools from around the world competing annually. This competition simulates a case at the International Court of Justice. Competitors argue issues arising from a set of international disputes between two fictitious countries and must interpret and apply public international law, both treaty-based international law and customary international law. Competitor teams represent both the applicant nation and the respondent nation by submitting written briefs and then by presenting oral arguments. Written briefs are due in mid-January. The first oral round is typically held in late February. The final round is held in Washington, D.C. The competition is sponsored by the International Law Students' Association (ILSA). Read more about this competition at the ILSA website.
Contact: Professor Tim Lynch and Professor Rana Lehr-Lehnardt
LL.M. International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition
This competition was specifically created for LL.M. students who are often barred from participation in other moot competitions. It provides our international LL.M. students an opportunity to research in a specific area of law (either international business or investment protection), develop arguments for both the claimant and respondent sides, prepare comprehensive written outlines, and finally argue the dispute before a panel of arbitration experts. The competition is a challenging event for international LL.M. students who argue the case in English, often as a second language, before arbitrators, many of whom also are not native English speakers. The problem is published in September, written argument outlines are due in February, and the competition is held mid-March at Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. To learn more, visit the LL.M. International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition site.
Contact: Professor Rana Lehr-Lehnardt and Aiman Dvorak
The Transactional LawMeet® is for students interested in transactional practice and provides student teams with hands-on experience in preparing a transactional agreement and negotiating the provisions of that agreement with other teams. Teams will be evaluated by a panel of practicing attorneys who are experts in their fields. The Regional Competition occurs in February followed by the National Competition several weeks later in Philadelphia. Read more at the meet’s website.
Contacts: Professor Tony Luppino
Trial Advocacy Competitions
Trial advocacy competitions emphasize the development of trial advocacy skills through mock trial experiences. Trial team members are selected in several ways: an intra-school competition, the 1L Last Team Standing Trial Advocacy Competition; tryouts; advocacy skill clinics; and competitions. Trial teams represent the school in regional and national competitions. UMKC has competed in many competitions including the National Trial Competition, the National Pretrial Competition, the Student Trial Advocacy Competition, and the National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition. In the last two years, UMKC has advanced to the final rounds of the National Trial Competition and the National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition. Teams have competed in Buffalo, Chicago, St. Paul, Gulfport, San Juan Puerto Rico, St. Louis, Houston, Jefferson City, Seattle, San Francisco, and many other cities across the country. In 2013 the Show Me Challenge was created by Professors Foreman and Tobin as the first National Voir Dire Competition. The competition is held annually in Kansas City and teams attend from across the nation. UMKC has created the Board of Barristers, a student operated organization devoted to the improvement of trial advocacy skills in all students.
Contact: Professor Rafe Foreman and Professor Michaelle Tobin