UMKC School of Law’s appellate advocacy programs are part of a comprehensive effort to educate effective appellate lawyers. Appellate advocacy is taught in sequenced courses that culminate in intra-school and interschool competitions.
Appellate Advocacy and National Moot Court +
The Appellate Advocacy program provides practical experience and cultivates skill in the art of advocacy at the appellate level and trains a top-flight Moot Court team to represent UMKC in regional and national competition.
The program consists of two semesters of intra-school competition. Appellate Advocacy II is held in the fall semester of the second year. Students work with a problem set in the Missouri Supreme Court and are required to prepare Points Relied On and a summary of argument. Oral arguments are then held at the Missouri state courthouse and are judged by local attorneys.
The 16 top-ranked participants from Appellate Advocacy II are invited to take Appellate Advocacy III (Ellison Moot Court Competition) in the spring. In this competition, students write a brief and argue both sides of a case set in the U.S. Supreme Court. Arguments are held in April at the federal courthouse and are judged by actual state and federal court judges.
The top students in the Ellison Competition go on to become members of the National Moot Court team, enrolling in Appellate Advocacy IV, which involves writing a brief and presenting arguments at the Region 9 Regional Moot Court Competition in the fall of the third year of law school. If a team qualifies at the Regional Competition, it is invited to participate in the final rounds of the National Moot Court Competition in New York City in January.
Contact: Dean Ellen Suni
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.
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.