A student in a striped tie speaks in the Moot Court semifinals.

First-Year Moot Court

All first-year students acquire valuable advocacy skills through one of the Law School’s 10 moot court offerings. Students can participate in the Foundation Moot Court; a specialized, domestic moot court program; or a specialized, international moot court competition.

First-year students must apply to specialized moot court programs, which accept a limited number of participants. 

First-Year Moot Court Application Timeline

Students can apply to individual moot courts, rank their choices, and select interview/oral tryout slots through the online moot court application system in LawNet.

September 15, 5:00 p.m. EST

Moot court application opens on LawNet

September 22, 5:00 p.m. EST

Moot court application closes on LawNet

September 30, 5:00 p.m. EST

Ranking of moot court programs closes

October 2

Team notifications released
(Note: This is a tentative date)

Learn More About First-Year Moot Court Programs

Most first-year students participate in Foundation Moot Court—part of the Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison Moot Court Program—to fulfill their requirement. 

  • Students are automatically enrolled in Foundation Moot Court unless they apply to—and are accepted by—an approved, specialized moot court program.
  • In the spring semester course Legal Practice Workshop II, participants research and write an appellate brief under the supervision of an upper-class student editor and an instructor. Past topics include First Amendment violations, trademark infringement, libel, securities fraud, employment discrimination, and criminal law.
  • Editors and instructors work with the participants through the research, drafting, and revision process. 
  • Later in the semester, students present oral arguments on their briefs before panels of alumni attorneys and student judges.

As an alternative to Foundation Moot Court, first-year students may participate in an approved moot court program under the Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison Moot Court Program to satisfy their moot court requirement. 

Each competition has its own set of rules. See details about applications, information sessions, timelines, and the tryouts/oral arguments for each program on the application information below.

The 2020–2021 moot court program handbook includes dates and descriptions of each program, including details about competitions, teams, topics, and more.

  • American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Moot Court: Participants in AIPLA moot court learn the basics of intellectual property law and the appellate procedures of the Federal Circuit.
  • Environmental Law Moot Court: Students gain advocacy experience by exploring legal issues drawn from real cases and representing the multiple parties often present in environmental litigation (e.g., the government, a public interest group, and a member of the regulated industry).
  • Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition: Sponsored by the National Black Law Students Association, this national competition focuses on constitutional law issues that affect minority communities. All students who participate become members of the Columbia Black Law Students Association.
  • Latinx Law Students Association (LaLSA) Moot Court Competition: Students explore complex contemporary issues in refugee and asylum law while developing their brief writing and oral advocacy skills.
  • National Native American Law Students’ Association (NNALSA) Moot Court Competition: Students from all backgrounds gain experience in the multidisciplinary and challenging field of federal Indian law. Recent topics include the right to counsel in tribal courts, marijuana legalization, and the “Baby Veronica” child custody case.
  • The Williams Institute Moot Court: Students analyze challenging issues of constitutional law affecting the LGBTQ community in this, the only national moot court competition dedicated to sexual orientation and gender identity law.

First-year students may compete in one of three world-renowned moot court programs to meet their first-year moot court requirements. 

See details on information sessions and the tryouts/oral arguments for each program on the application information below and find important dates and more information about each program—including topics, teams, and the competition process—in the 2020–2021 moot court program handbook.

  • European Law Moot Court: This annual competition tackles current legal, social, and practical questions emerging from European integration and political changes in Europe. Previous problems have touched on EU law concerning hate speech, the European arrest warrant, and data privacy regulations.
  • Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition: The world’s largest moot court competition simulates a dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice—the judicial arm of the United Nations. Participants have represented more than 700 law schools across more than 100 nations. Participating in this moot court requires a two-year commitment.
  • Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (Vis): This international competition trains students in international commercial law and arbitration for resolution of international business disputes. The competition attracts more than 300 law schools from around the world.

The Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP Moot Court Program

1L Foundation Moot Court:

  • Not applicable 

American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) Moot Court: 

Environmental Law Moot Court:

  • Information Session: Recording
  • Tryout: September 23–30

Frederick Douglass Moot Court:

  • Information Session: Recording
  • Tryout: September 23-30

Latinx Law Students Association (LaLSA) Moot Court: 

  • Information Session: Recording
  • Tryout: September 25–27

Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) Moot Court:

  • Information Session: Recording 
  • Tryout: September 23–30

Williams Institute Moot Court:

  • Information Session: Recording
  • Tryout: September 23-30

The Winston & Strawn International Moot Court Program

European Law Moot Court:

  • Information Session: Recording
  • Tryout: September 23-30

Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court:

  • Information Session: Recording
  • Tryout: September 23–30

Vienna International Arbitration Moot Court (Vis):

  • Information Session: September 17 at 5:20 p.m. EST  (via Zoom)
  • Tryout: September 23–30


 

Questions? Contact:

Sarah Shin