Jeremy C. Beutler ’17
For the Defendant-Appellee/Cross-Appellant
After graduating from business school, Jeremy C. Beutler ’17 took a job at Credit Suisse Securities where—as an analyst, assistant vice president, and eventually interim governance lead working on technology risk management—he regularly made presentations to colleagues and supervisors.
“It was always something I liked doing,” he said. Then, when he arrived for his first year at Columbia Law School, he joined a moot court team where “you’re lucky to get 10 words in edgewise before you get another question” in front of the judges.
“It sets you back on your heels a little bit,” said Beutler, who was part of the American Intellectual Property Law Association Moot Court internal team. “It was a great learning experience.”
So great, in fact, that Beutler decided to compete in the Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court, where he advanced to the final round. He said he loves the oral advocacy side of competition, including preparing to address the judges’ questions related to the other side’s briefs.
“You go through the whole research process again with a different mindset,” he said. “How do you respond to each of these points with only slightly more time than it takes to deliver a sound bite? It’s dynamic. That’s what I like about it.”
To make it to the finals, Beutler drew upon many of his experiences in law school, including an opportunity he had as a summer associate at Debevoise & Plimpton to help prepare a partner for an appeal in a New York state right of publicity case.
“That taught me to concentrate on the finer points of my argument,” he said. “You always want to be able to direct the judges back to that.”
In the earlier rounds of the Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court competition, Beutler said he benefitted from the feedback of judges who urged him to find the right balance in making his client’s case. Beutler and his partner are arguing on behalf of a hypothetical governor who signed a law decriminalizing certain misdemeanor charges, including domestic violence, battery, assault, public drunkenness, and disorderly conduct.
“In the first round, I got a little bit too caught up in the law without even trying to explain the governor’s justification for enacting this legislation,” he said. “The plaintiffs are victims of domestic violence. I didn’t want to discredit their position.”
In the second round, Beutler spent more time emphasizing the issues the governor was trying to address—the overpolicing of racial minorities and limited prosecutorial resources.
“You have to find the right balance of being a strong advocate and being zealous in that representation, without overselling your point,” he said.
Beutler said he also learned from his participation in the Federal Court Clerk Externship in the Eastern District of New York, which placed him in the chambers of U.S. District Court Judge Roslynn R. Mauskopf, and in a seminar with U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis during his second year at the Law School.
“That helped contextualize the first year of law school for me,” he said. “It put the things I learned in the first year into practice in a real way.”
While he was at the court, Beutler had the chance to observe some of the criminal trial against Vincent Asaro, who was acquitted on charges related to the 1978 Lufthansa robbery, which was featured in the movie Goodfellas. For Beutler, who will be returning to Debevoise next year and wants to be a litigator, it was fascinating to watch the attorneys and jurors in action.
As an appellate advocate in the Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court finals on April 4, Beutler said his goal is to address the judges’ concerns.
“I want to walk away knowing I answered their questions,” he said. “That’s the only reason I’m up there. You don’t want to walk away feeling you couldn’t answer something or didn’t answer it well enough.”