Each year the University of Texas School of Law, through the David J. Beck Center for Legal Research, Writing, and Oral Advocacy, sponsors students with a proven commitment to oral and written advocacy as they participate in a select number of interscholastic moot court competitions. Moot court builds on the practical and analytical skills developed during the first-year legal research and writing course. These competitions function as dynamic laboratories in which students hone an array of skills needed to excel in law practice.
The experience simulates sophisticated appeals in which the legal issues involved test the boundaries of settled precedent. For these competitions, students are required to prepare and submit formal legal briefs. After weeks of rigorous preparation, students then participate in a series of oral arguments before panels of judges. As with real appellate arguments, the judges interrupt the proceeding with questions, posing a challenge unique to the legal world where the presenters are expected to respond to the dictates of their audience without losing sight of the client’s cause. Advocates must be consummately prepared regarding the law, the factual record, and the compelling policy concerns on both sides of an issue. Yet advocates must also be able to improvise under pressure, maintain appropriate decorum, and respond to judges in a way that makes complex material accessible.
The Law School also sponsors the Judge John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition.