First Year Moot Court Class


The Moot Court class is offered during the spring semester and is typically taken during a student’s first year. At the end of the fall semester, students are given a list of instructors and topics that will be offered in the spring. Students rank the instructors and topics in order of preference and are assigned to a class by the Moot Court staff. Moot court classes typically consist of 12-14 students. Moot Court classes are taught by adjunct professors with real-world experience in the field of law. Students are also assisted by second- and third-year student teaching assistants.

The first half of the semester is focused on teaching students how to write an appellate brief. Unlike the memoranda written by students in Legal Writing & Research, the Moot Court appellate briefs are highly structured and must advocate on behalf of a party. Students work alone and must turn in a comprehensive brief mid-semester that passes the Ten-Error Rule.

Once the brief has been submitted, the students focus on preparing a 15-minute oral argument. Students will be given the chance to argue in class as well as a videotaped practice. At the end of the semester, students present oral arguments to a panel of three judges selected by their instructor.


Moot Court is a Pass/Fail course. In order to pass the course, you must do the following:

  • Complete all assignments on the syllabus in a satisfactory and timely manner.
  • Comply with all requirements listed under the section in this Handbook entitled "Standards for the Appellate Brief."
  • Complete and timely submit an appellate brief which passes the Hastings Ten-Error Rule.
  • Participate in two videotaped practice oral arguments, one as a judge for a fellow student and one as an advocate for the oral argument.
  • Satisfactorily complete the oral argument.
  • Satisfy all class participation responsibilities or other requirements set forth by the Instructor.
  • Attend every class.


At the end of the semester, each professor will name the Best Brief and a maximum of three Honorable Mentions for Best Brief, and the Best Oral Argument and a maximum of three Honorable Mentions for Best Oral Argument in each section. Each section winner of the Best Brief and Best Oral Argument awards will be invited to the Moot Court Awards Ceremony. All of the Honorable Mention winners in both categories will receive a certificate stating their Honorable Mention Award. The names of all of the Moot Court winners will be posted by section on the Moot Court Bulletin Board.

A final brief that is submitted late or that fails to meet all of the requirements listed under "Standards for the Appellate Brief" will not be eligible for recognition for any Moot Court awards. A student can be eligible for recognition for an award for Best Oral Argument, even if her/his brief is deemed to be in violation of the Ten-Error Rule, and even if her/his brief is not a winner in the brief competition. Best Brief and Best Oral Argument awards are considered separately.


All Honor Code violations will be handled in accordance with the Hastings Discipline Policy as set forth in the Student Conduct Code and in the Academic Regulations. If you believe that a violation of the Honor Code has occurred, you have an obligation to contact the Moot Court Director, Toni Young, who will investigate and determinate appropriate penalties and refer the matter to the associate academic dean for discipline and sanctions.

Moot Court students must not consult with any faculty members, attorneys, judges, or anyone other than the students in their Moot Court class, their professors, their teaching assistants, or the Moot Court staff about their Moot Court case or its subject matter. Consulting the actual court case file or reading the actual briefs is forbidden, and these actions will result in a failing grade and/or other appropriate sanctions.

No cheating or plagiarism will be tolerated in Moot Court. Any instances of cheating or plagiarism will be considered serious ethical violations.

Instances of cheating and plagiarism should be reported by students to their teaching assistant, and by the teaching assistant to the professor and to the moot court director immediately. Cases of cheating are referred to the Office of the Associate Academic Dean.

Students must be meticulous about reshelving all Law Library materials. Students gain no advantage by denying others access to Library resources. Any student who conceals, destroys, or defaces any library materials or academic publications will be in violation of the Hastings Moot Court Honor Code.

Students must not attend the oral videotape practice sessions of their Moot Court opponents, nor may students attend the final argument of anyone in their class before giving their own oral argument. If the actual oral argument of the Moot Court case is scheduled locally before the class oral arguments, the class will be permitted to attend, pending approval of the Instructor.

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