Moot court team

While in New York City this week, Bradley Clary has five goals to accomplish, and they have nothing to do with seeing a Broadway production or going to Central Park.
Clary, the coach for the University Law School’s moot court teams, said he wants his team to learn something, have some fun, make it to the final 16, win a trophy and take the entire national championship at the National Moot Court competition in New York City.
In the competition, contestants from law schools around the country take turns arguing evidence in a real case that has already been heard and decided in legal court. The national competition, in which 28 teams compete, is sponsored by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Since Clary started coaching 17 years ago, he has taken the University to the national competition eight times, but he said he has never advanced past the final eight teams.
“I would like to see us break the final four and then win it all,” Clary said.
About 150 accredited law schools compete in the National Moot Court competition, which goes through Thursday, but only 28 advance to the final competition. The University’s team, consisting of law students Kristin Olson, Curtis Fisher and Nichole Burgess, won the regional competition in South Dakota.
Only two teams from each of the 14 regions across the nation advance to the national competition, Clary said. The University took first place in their region; the University of South Dakota took second and will also be in New York City.
Moot courts at the University give law students an opportunity to polish their oral argument and petitioning skills by working with Supreme Court cases.
Clary took two teams to the regional tournament — the Respondent’s team and the Petitioner’s team. The Respondent’s team argues the winning side of a case which was appealed in the Supreme Court, while the Petitioner’s team argues the losing side of the case at the state level. All teams argue the same case.
In addition to the Respondent’s team victory, Burgess won Best Oralist, and the Petitioner’s team wrote the Best Petitioner’s Brief.
— Kelly Hildebrandt