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USD Appellate Moot Court program soars to new heights

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The University of San Diego School of Law has a rich history of instructing students in both theory and practice and in providing them with unique opportunities to bring their classroom education into the courtroom and boardroom. Students have a unique opportunity to delve into the theory behind and the practice of appellate advocacy through the USD Appellate Honors Moot Court program, which provides opportunities for students to compete in and direct intramural and national appellate advocacy competitions.

Each year, USD hosts three intramural tournaments and one national tournament. The Moot Court Board, comprised of second and third-year students, develop and direct the tournaments. Recent competition topics include public school censorship of student speech, trademark infringement, successor liability, search and seizure of a student backpack, and age discrimination. The intramural and national competitions allow students the opportunity to refine the skills learned in their first year legal research and writing course by drafting an appellate brief and presenting oral arguments before a panel of three “judges.”

Although the USD-hosted competitions play a significant role in the Moot Court program, USD also has a tremendous national team program. The program sends students to travel across the country to compete in national tournaments focused on a wide range of legal issues – from First Amendment law to child rights and evidence. In recent years, the Moot Court program has brought home first place awards at national competitions in overall advocacy, brief writing and oral advocacy.

Moot Court Faculty advisor Kris Panikowski recently reflected on the recent success of the program: “It takes a village to build a successful moot court program. We are fortunate here at USD to have an incredible team of talent. Our Deans have been steadfast in their commitment to this program. Our alumni and members of the legal community generous donate their time and expertise. And, our students consistently step up to the plate. They are professional, hardworking, driven, talented, and committed to excellence. We are happy that this team effort has been rewarded with such a great national profile, and we are pleased that USD students can reap the rewards of USD’s commitment to this important program and skill set.”

-Submitted by USD Law School

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