Moot Court Travels

This past weekend, I flew to DC (from Paris!!!) for the Siegenthaler-Sutherland National First Amendment Moot Court Competition!

So last year, around this time, I applied to be a competitor on one of BU’s 3L moot court teams. I was lucky enough just to be chosen, and luckier still that the moot court staff and my teammates were willing to accommodate me being 3,500 miles away!

The problem came out in November, and briefs were due in the end of January. This year, the problem centered on state-sanctioned actions and the protection afforded for government speech. As a three person team, we decided to split the brief up into the two issues and the “common” portions of the brief (facts, proceedings below, jurisdiction, summary of the argument, etc). I elected to do the common portions since I was worried about my access to US law resources here in France.

After we turned in our brief, we prepped our oral arguments. To do so, we read a lot of the other competitors’ briefs, did some additional research, and relied heavily on what our teammate, Katherine, was learning in her First Amendment class with Professor Wexler. We chatted a LOT on Skype, and decided how we wanted to split the arguments up. Each team argues on brief and off brief once each in the prelims, so we had three people and four separate arguments in total. We decided that I would be the swing (the person to argue twice) since I hadn’t written an argument.

I flew into DC on Wednesday night, and stayed with my cousin for the evening. On Thursday, I took the metro into the DC city center and checked into the hotel! Chris and Katherine arrived around 9pm, and we stayed up late prepping our arguments and just discussing the problem in general.

We woke up early Friday morning to do some more prep and to print out materials in the hotel business. The hotel was buzzing between all the moot court competitors and tons of other young people in town for March for Our Lives. We met up with our coach from BU, who had been coaching another BU team at a different DC competition the day before, ordered coffee and boarded the bus for the competition!

At the host university, we had lunch and worked through our arguments. I was so relieved when our draw had us arguing on-brief first! We had two rounds of arguments, and honestly, I’m really proud of how we did! Our first panel was rather a cold bench, and I thought we fielded questions well and drove home our arguments (and picked apart opposing counsel’s arguments in our rebuttal!). Our second panel was a *hotttt* bench and we were being grilled with questions left and right. I thought we really rose to the challenge, defended our position with great case law, and all in all, had a really good round!

After we finished the rounds, we hung out at the Day 1 reception and waited for results. We were sad to learn that we didn’t advance to Day 2, especially because we felt our brief had been one of the stronger briefs in the pool, and that we had performed very well in oral arguments! Such is life.

We had the day free on Saturday since we didn’t advance, but unfortunately I woke up really sick! I can’t believe we were two blocks from the Mall and the grand stand for March for Our Lives, and I wasn’t even able to get out of bed. Katherine and Chris went with our coach, Jen, to the Newseum, where the final rounds were taking place, and enjoyed free admission to the Newseum and another amazing reception!

I have done moot court every year at BU Law, and it has been such a special part of my law school experience. I’m so glad I got to close it out with such a fun weekend!


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