UC Hastings’ Moot Court Team has been ranked No. 1 nationally four semesters in a row. It’s not just one of the most prestigious student organizations on campus, students say it’s also a great place to learn important legal skills like research, writing, and speaking.
“The practical skills Moot Court has taught me are essential on my journey to become a lawyer. Through the program, I have developed a strong sense of legal research that has helped me tackle complex issues,” said Moot Court Co-Chair Anushka Silva ’23. “I have also learned how to write effective, persuasive appellate briefs and gained confidence in my advocacy. Specifically, Moot Court has taught me how to engage with judges and articulate cohesive legal points.”
The 2021-22 school year was a banner year for the Hastings Mooters as they took part in 29 competitions around the United States, including New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Atlanta, besting teams from prestigious private and public law schools including the Ivy League. Each team has a student coach and an alumni coach who support them in training and at competition.
Last year, Hastings won six national championships and eight national finalist / second place finishes, according to Madison Boucher ’21, one of the Moot Court alumni coaches. Boucher has credited her experience in Moot Court with helping improve her law school grades and giving her the confidence to pass two bar exams.
Many students cite the national prestige of Moot Court as a key reason they chose to enroll at UC Hastings. Its reputation led to a large number of students trying out for the team, including one out of every three 1L students. Each applicant had to submit a writing sample and resume, give a five-minute oral argument, and participate in a group interview. Justine Chang ’23, one of the 2022-23 Moot Court co-chairs, said about half the students who tried out made the cut. The select group of 2L and 3L students will practice multiple times per week during competition season.
For Chang, participating in Moot Court wasn’t just about improving her legal skills, “Moot Court gave me a family. I started law school during the height of the pandemic, which made it extremely difficult to find meaningful, organic connections with my peers. Returning to campus and being a member of the Moot Court Team was such a joyous occasion for me because I always felt the support of my teammates. We genuinely enjoy each other’s company and are constantly rooting for each other to succeed.”
Moot Court is supervised by Senior Assistant Dean Toni Young ‘ 76. Young said she hopes to see continued success from the team during its next competition season, which starts in the fall. She said, “Hopefully, school pride, community, tradition and of course #winning will continue to be the Hastings Moot Court Team legacy. We are number one is my favorite chant! Go Hastings!”