Moot Court Competition – 2020 Registered Teams
Welcome to the 2020 Williams Institute Moot Court Competition page for registered teams. Competition materials will be posted on this password-protected page.
Questions and clarifications about the problem will be accepted from Tuesday, December 18, 2019, through February 11, 2020, at 5:00 PM (PT). Answers to each question will be posted here as a collection every Thursday, beginning on December 19, 2019. Questions must be received by the prior Tuesday at 5:00 PM (PT) to be included in the Thursday post. Please note that the Williams Institute will be closed for winter break from the afternoon of Friday, December 20, 2019, through Thursday, January 2, 2020. Questions received during this time will be answered on Monday, January 9, 2020.
Please direct all questions about the problem to firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Question Regarding Problem” in the subject line.
Questions & Answers
February 13, 2020
Question: If we want to cite to the statute how do we do that? The case problem has one citation in the footnote, TA Stat. Ann. Sections 21:1-23-24. Is that how we should cite it in the brief or since the text of the statute is in the district opinion should we cite the district opinion instead?
Answer: Please cite the statute as TA. Stat. Ann. § 21:1-23-24 (2019).
Question: All of the language regarding asking questions about the problem and substantive questions about our argument refers to “prior to submitting the brief.” Does this mean that after submitting the brief, these restrictions no longer apply?
Answer: Yes, that is correct. The restrictions no longer apply after you submit your brief. You are encouraged to moot your arguments and get feedback from other students, professors, lawyers, coaches, etc. after you have submitted the brief and are preparing for oral argument.
February 6, 2020
Question: The Official Rules and Standards state in Section VI-C that “BRIEFS MUST CITE TO THE ‘DECISION ON APPEAL’ WHERE APPROPRIATE.” Is “Smith v. Bell, No. 16-1513 (13th Cir. 2019) an acceptable citation to the case below? When referring to the case below outside of citations, should the phrase “decision on appeal” be used?
Answer: Yes, please use that citation. Outside of citations, you may refer to the Thirteenth Circuit’s decision as “the decision on appeal” or the “Thirteenth Circuit’s decision” or the “Circuit Court’s decision.” You will not be penalized for the phrase you use; we just need to be able to identify what you are referring to.
January 17, 2020
Question: For a three person team, can the third person do the rebuttal if they do not speak for the first or second issue?
Answer: No, only two members of a team may argue in any given round.
Question: For rebuttal, do the same speakers have to speak about the same issues during the rebuttal? Can one speaker do the rebuttal for both issues?
Answer: Yes, one speaker may do the rebuttal for both issues as long as they have also presented one issue in that round.
Question: Do you have any briefs that previously won the best brief award available for review?
Answer: No, past best briefs are not available for review.
Question: In reviewing the prompt, the freedom of speech argument made by Plaintiffs does not appear to include vagueness/overbreadth. Is this within the scope of briefing/oral argument?
Answer: As noted in the problem, the arguments are restricted to those raised by the plaintiffs and defendants in the courts below. Please do not argue that the law is unconstitutional because it is vague or over broad.
Question: Should both the issues be put into the same brief or would we need to submit two separate briefs per issue?
Answers: Please submit both issues in one brief.
January 9, 2020
Question: What are the limits on the guidance we are able to seek from law students who are not competing? Are they considered “others who are trained in the law”? Can we ask them general questions about brief writing and/or more substantive questions about the problem?
Answer: Law students are considered people trained in the law. You may not receive substantive guidance regarding the problem or your arguments prior to submitting your brief from law students who are not competing. You may, however, ask them (and others trained in the law) general questions about brief writing.
Question: Are teams allowed to have coaches? Can coaches help with stylistic aspects of oral arguments?
Answer: Yes, teams may have coaches. Coaches, like others trained in the law, may not provide substantive guidance regarding the problem or your specific arguments prior to submitting your brief. You may receive general feedback about oral argument style and brief writing from coaches prior to submitting the brief. You are required to provide your coach’s name and contact information to the Williams Institute. If you have not yet done so, please email us at email@example.com.
December 19, 2019
Question: Do the rules permit competitors to discuss the problem with other teams?
Answer: Yes, you may discuss the problem with anyone else who is participating in the competition.
Briefs must be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5:00 PM (PT) on Monday, February 17, 2020. Briefs should be submitted in both Word and PDF formats. Please indicate in the subject line of the email your team number and whether you are a petitioner or respondent (e.g. “Team 26 Petitioner”).
The Board will accept briefs until 6:00 PM (PT), but briefs received after 5:00 PM (PT) will be considered late and will be penalized on their score. The Board will deduct two points (out of 50) from the brief score for every 15 minutes, or part thereof, that a brief is late. You are encouraged to send your brief earlier than the deadline to avoid last-minute problems. If you are experiencing technical difficulties, please call the Williams Institute at 310-267-4382.
All briefs will be posted here anonymously and will be available to all competitors.
For additional information or questions regarding the competition please email email@example.com.