Aaron Michael Macris ’16
Counsel for the Defendant-Appellee
Competing on the University of Southern California’s mock trial team as an undergraduate provided Aaron Michael Macris ’16 with an introduction to arguing cases in front of the bench. Those mock trial experiences, however, simulated a jury trial, with opening and closing statements and witnesses. For the Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court Competition, Macris had to modify his oral argument approach.
“I definitely had to adjust to responding to judges [who are] really in control of the questioning,” he says. “When you are presenting a closing argument you are directing the show. But in [moot court] you have to be ready for anything.”
Participating in the Law School’s legal writing program has also served Macris well throughout the preliminary rounds of the competition. Having Adjunct Professor Steven Statsinger ’87, a judge on the New York City Criminal Court, as his instructor gave Macris a completely different outlook on brief writing. “Working with him really taught me to keep in mind who your audience is,” he says. “If you are writing for a judge, you need to write something clear and concise—not something that is [just] trying to sound smart.”
Serving as an essays and reviews editor for the Columbia Law Review, meanwhile, taught Macris how to identify—and remedy—weak points in his own writing. “When you are critiquing someone else’s writing, just saying ‘I don’t like this’ isn’t very constructive,” he says. “It forces you to come up with objectives and well-defined reasons why you want to change something.”
Macris also credits coursework in federal courts and administrative law for helping prepare him for the issues of standing and other procedural questions important for his side of the argument in this year’s case.
In the fall, Macris will join the Boston office of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr as a litigation associate.