2015-2016 Try Out Information

Tryouts will be held May 12-14th.  You can register for a timeslot by accessing the sign-up sheet here.  The directions on how to select a time slot are located at the bottom of the document.  Please be sure to read all of the instructions. Registrations will be accepted on the Googel Doc until 12pm on 5/8. After that time, you must contact Professor Kirby or Aaron Creuz directly to arrange for a time.  

The Bench Memo for the tryouts can be downloaded here. Bench Memo- Tryouts 2015.


Course Information 

Thank you for your interest in participation in the Appellate Advocacy: Hunter Moot Court Program. Participation is determined by a selection process that includes an oral argument “try-out” as well as a consideration of your 1L brief in the LAWR II course or its course equivalent (transfer students) or an allowed course substitute. This document is designed to give you an overview of the program and to explain the basics of the competition. Additional documents can be found on this course web board, including a bench memo for the try-out oral argument and a consent form, which must be signed and returned before the try-out oral argument.

The course work part of the program (5 graded credits, W-I, S)

The program consists of a graded course component in the fall and spring semesters, as well as a spring competition. If you are selected for the program, you must commit yourself to both semesters. Because the yearlong commitment presumes that you will be available for each round of the oral argument competition in the spring semester, you may not commit yourself to any other graded or ungraded activity which would take you away from the oral argument rounds. For example, that includes simultaneous participation in the Jessup or Vis/Commercial Arbitration programs. The oral arguments in the Hunter program begin in the last week of February and continue through the last week of March or first week of April. There are no rounds of argument over spring break or on weekends.

The fall semester is a graded three-credit course that carries a writing intensive (W-I) designation. The fall course concentrates on the written side of persuasive appellate advocacy. The grade is based on the final version of the appellate brief, but there will also be interim assignments that are designed to teach you advanced writing skills. The rhythm will feel something like your LAWR II course, although the curriculum will, of course, be somewhat different and will combine elements of interdisciplinary persuasive theory with norms of appellate brief writing. The brief is written with a partner, and all conferences will happen with your partner.

The spring semester, awards two course credits and is also graded. Completion of the entire year earns a Skills credit (S). The spring course focuses on the oral presentation of advocacy. The course is intensive, meaning that it will meet for two hours/week for seven weeks. You will work with the same partner during both semesters, and that will also be your partner for the spring competition.
The competition will begin in mid-February, and will take place at the federal courthouse during evening hours. The schedule will be created by Hunter Board Members in the beginning of the spring semester.

Hunter Board Members
In addition to having a professor, the program is also resourced with eleven Hunter Moot Court Board Members. These rising 3L students are analogous to the editorial board members of the law journals, in that they have chief organizational roles in the competition process. They also serve as the course teaching assistants, and they have their own weekly course meeting. Each of these students participated in the prior year's program and competition.

Course scheduling
The course divides into two sections in the fall semester and spring. These courses are treated the same way as limited enrollment courses, i.e. there is a lottery. You will be asked your preferences for the two sections of the courses. Except for part-time evening students or students already selected for a clinic course (if the class periods conflict), we cannot guarantee that you will receive your first choice of sections. 

The selection process
As previously stated, the two components of selection are written and oral advocacy. The written advocacy portion is worth 65% of the overall try-out score and the oral argument portion is worth 35%. You don’t need to do anything for the written advocacy portion of the selection competition other than to sign a consent form. That form, available on the course web board, will allow Professor Kirby to contact your LAWR II professor and to ask for your LAWR II grade on your final brief. We understand that in some LAWR II sections, the brief grade will not be the same as the course grade: we are normalizing the results by focusing on the just the brief grade. If you have taken an upper level writing course in which you worked on a brief and received a grade for that work, you may substitute that grade for your LAWR II brief grade. 

You will also participate in an oral advocacy audition, which will take place during the three weekdays after spring semester finals conclude in May. Each applicant will sign up for a time slot and will argue for eight minutes. There will be multiple rooms in the law school reserved for the arguments, so scheduling should not be an issue. During those eight minutes, you will present an argument based on that academic year's Hunter Moot Court simulation problem--so you may want to attend a Hunter argument in March/April to familiarize yourself beforehand. A portion of a bench memo will be posted on the Hunter Moot Court web board in late April, and you may shape your arguments based on that bench memo. No other outside research is needed (or even advised). All participants will argue the same issue for the same client.

The oral argument will look much as it did for your LAWR II arguments, except that there will be only two judges in the room: the judges will be members of the Hunter Board. A detailed sample score sheet is posted on this course web board so that you can see the criteria. Our strongest hint, other than to know the arguments enough to answer questions, is to have a clear and client-centered opening. You may also want to watch the final arguments from this year: they are posted.

Consent and information form
At the oral argument try-out, you must submit a grade-release consent form (also available on the course web board). Federal law prohibits the law school from releasing grades without your consent. Ergo, we cannot access your writing course grade without that form.

Likewise, the form asks you for your Rutgers email account. More than one applicant has almost lost a seat in the course due to illegible handwriting coupled with Gmail account information. Please also keep in mind that many Gmail emails are flagged as spam by the Rutgers email system. If you do not hear back from us within 2 days after sending us an email, resend it from your Rutgers email account.

Finally, the form will ask you to select a preferred class time, if selected. The class assignments are done by lottery. The only students guaranteed a specific class time are part-time students who need the evening section.

Students will be notified by mid-June of their acceptance into the program. The notification date will roughly correspond to that of the journals. At that time we will ask accepted students to send back an acknowledgment so that we may send a finalized list to the registrar. There will be a wait list in the event that some students decline the offer. The wait list is used, and several students each year do earn a seat through this process. Several of those students have advanced in the competition.  

Jenean Kirby
Aaron Creuz and Sara Cutuli are the 2015-16 Hunter Moot Court Board Co-Chairpersons.