Daniel Straus ’14
Counsel for the appellee
The Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court competition finals will not mark the first time that Daniel Straus ’14 has faced off against fellow finalist Will Sears ’14 in oral argument.
In fact, Straus grew accustomed to seeing Sears at elite intercollegiate debate championships during his time as an undergraduate at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash. Although Straus cannot remember any details about the one time he squared off against Sears in competition at the college level, he notes that, this time around, their presentations will be significantly different.
“Both moot court and policy debate are advocacy-oriented and research-intensive, but moot court is less adversarial,” Straus explains. “It’s more important to be an honest broker rather than just trying to advance your argument.”
Straus is quick to note that he learned a great deal about making an effective appellate argument from the alumni who have judged the competition thus far as part of the Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison Moot Court Program. “It’s been educational to receive advice from those who actually appear in court,” he says. “And it has been very valuable to witness the different styles people use in arguing before the court, as well as the perspectives they bring to the experience.”
Straus adds that his current Law School externship as a judicial intern for Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York provides another window into effective legal writing and argument. And in addition to his day-to-day work for the judge, Straus says he has the opportunity to sit in on oral arguments made before the New York City–based 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. “I’ve been able to see lawyers represent their clients in many effective but different ways,” he notes.
When it comes to crafting his own arguments, Straus is grateful for the solid substantive training he received in an administrative law course taught by Professor Gillian E. Metzger ’95.
“The problem for this year’s moot court is all administrative law, so having been able to hear her thoughts on so many of these doctrines has been a major benefit for me,” he says. “I had a general sense of what the law was before I even started researching.”
This program is made possible by the generous support of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.