Moot Courts and Competitions
The University of Michigan Law School offers law students a wide array of extracurricular opportunities, including moot court and other competitions, to get involved in different aspects of the law.
Moot Court Competitions
Henry M. Campbell Moot Court Competition
The Henry M. Campbell Moot Court Competition has been an annual event at the Law School for more than eighty years. Winning it is one of the highest honors a Michigan law student can achieve.
The Campbell Competition, open to all interested second- and third-year students, visiting and dual degree students, is a test of the contestants' skills in the art of appellate advocacy, both oral and written. Each year the students who serve on the Campbell Board construct a hypothetical case which involves a topic of current social concern and raises difficult unresolved legal questions. The record of this case is distributed to potential competitors early in the fall semester.
Participants submit written briefs on the issues of the case and then take part in oral arguments in the preliminary round late in the fall term. Students work in pairs to complete their briefs, but participate individually in oral arguments. Evaluation is based upon both oral and written performance. The quarterfinal round is held early in the winter term, and a semi-final round is held after Spring Break. The top two competitors advance to the final round held in early April. The panel of judges for the final argument includes members of the Federal Bench. All competitors learn a tremendous amount of substantive law while developing written and oral advocacy skills.
Child Welfare Law Moot Court Competition
The Child Welfare Law Moot Court Competition is a national moot court competition sponsored by five organizations, including the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, and the National Association of Counsel for Children. Each school fields a two or three member team which competes in written and oral advocacy on a child welfare issue. Michigan's team is chosen by an intra-Michigan competition organized by the Child Advocacy Law Clinic. The competition is open to all law students.
Criminal Law Moot Court Competition
Each year, the Criminal Law Society selects and coaches a team to compete in the Herbert J. Wechsler National Criminal Moot Court Competition, in Buffalo, NY.
The Criminal Law Society is led by a five member general executive board. All members of the Law School community are welcome and invited to join.
Entertainment Media and Arts Moot Court Competition
The Entertainment Media and Arts Law Students Association (EMALSA) facilitates a variety of professional, academic, and recreational activities. Members have successfully competed in prestigious national competitions, such as the BMI/Cardozo Entertainment Moot Court Competition and the Grammy Foundation's Entertainment Law Initiative national writing competition.
EMALSA membership is open to the entire Law School community.
Environmental Law Moot Court Competition
The Environmental Law Society (ELS) is a charter member of the National Association of Environmental Law Societies, consisting of a group of students and faculty advisors dedicated to learning about environmental law and protecting the environment through the legal process. In addition to various environmental projects, ELS members also compete at the Annual Environmental Moot Court Competition hosted by Pace Law School in White Plains, New York.
Intellectual Property Moot Court Competition
The Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Moot Court competition is the nation's foremost intellectual property moot court competition. The competition is named for the late Honorable Giles Sutherland Rich, a noted jurist and Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and its predecessor, the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals.
The competition is a nationwide moot court competition run by the American Intellectual Property Law Association and covers issues involving patents, copyright, trademarks, and trade secrets. The problem is usually released in October, with a University of Michigan round hosted by the Intellectual Property Students Association in January. From this round, the top two-member teams travel to the regional competition in Chicago, with the finals taking place in April at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC.
Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition
The Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is an international moot court competition between law schools in over fifty countries. Each school fields a five-member team which competes in written and oral advocacy on an international law topic. Michigan's team is chosen by an intra-Michigan competition organized by the International Law Society.
The competition is open to all law students. The five-member team travels first to the Regional Round and then (hopefully) on to the finals, which have been held at various universities throughout the world. The Michigan team won the United States competition in 1998. The Law School's International Law Society supervises and coaches the Michigan team, which has consistently done very well in competition.
Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition
The Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) strives to increase communication among Native American law students, Native American lawyers and the general public. In support of this goal, NALSA provides a forum at the University of Michigan for the discussion and exploration of legal problems affecting Native Americans. NALSA serves as an information source for Native American law students on educational financial assistance, educational opportunities, and employment opportunities. Members have successfully competed in the annual National NALSA Moot Court Competition.
NALSA membership is open to the entire Law School community.
Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Competition
The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court is a competition that fosters the study and practice of international arbitration. Students from over eighty countries compete in written and oral advocacy on a dispute arising out of a contract of sale between parties from fictional signatories to the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods.
Michigan's team has competed every year since 2018. The team writes and submits briefs or memorials in support of both the claimant’s and respondent’s positions. A five-member team has previously traveled to Vienna, Austria to compete in the oral argument portion of the competition. The Michigan team has also regularly been selected to participate in pre-moot competitions, including competitions hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Loyola University School of Law in Chicago, Illinois.
State Bar of Michigan Taxation Section Law Student Writing Challenge
The Taxation Section is pleased to announce its third annual Law Student Writing Challenge. Students are asked to write a paper analyzing the tax-related issues in connection with the question below. Challenge participants will be evaluated on their research, analysis, persuasiveness, and writing ability.
Prize: The review panels will choose an overall winning entrant to the Challenge who will be awarded a $1,000 cash scholarship. The other three winners will each receive a
$250 cash scholarship. Each of the four winners will also receive free entry to the 2021 Annual Tax Conference to be held virtually on May 27, 2021, and have their submission considered for publication in the Michigan Tax Lawyer.
Eligibility: Eligible participants must either:
- be enrolled, as of January 1, 2021, and continuing through April 15, 2021, at an ABA-accredited law school that is located in the State of Michigan; or
- be enrolled, as of January 1, 2021, and continuing through April 15, 2021, at an ABA-accredited law school that is located anywhere in the United States and, within the last two years, been employed or had an unpaid internship at a Michigan office of a law firm, accounting firm, or governmental agency.
Format: Each participant must write a response to the challenge question in the form of an email to the client that otherwise conforms to the specifications for submission to the Michigan Tax Lawyer. The response should be no more than 1,500 words. The response itself should not include author information, which will be separately included with the submission packet. The title of the response should be “Law Student Writing Challenge.” Participants are expected to draft their submission independently and without the assistance of others.
Submissions: Participants must submit their response by email to the Taxation Section’s Program Facilitator, Mary Owiesny, at email@example.com on or before April 30, 2021. The submission must be a single PDF document that includes (1) a cover sheet
with the student’s name, law school, and contact information, (ii) evidence of their enrollment at a U.S. law school and, if a non-Michigan law school, proof of employment or internship meeting the requirements for eligibility, and (3) their paper.
Review process: The review process will be conducted by panels of the Taxation Section. The author’s identifying information will not be known by the reviewers during the review. Reviewers will award points to each entry based on, in no particular order, (1) substantive analysis, (2) conciseness, (3) format, (4) writing style, and (5) originality. The selection of the top submissions will be in the sole discretion of the Taxation Section.
2021 Law Student Writing Challenge Question:
Your client is Shannon Friendly. She has a job as a graphic designer and earns a salary of $50,000 per year, but is drowning in student loan debt. In 2019, she started a side hustle designing websites for local businesses. It really took off and she had gross receipts of
$50,000 for that year. She did not know how to claim this income or her $15,000 of business expenses on her tax returns. Her friend, who is a plumber, told her that since it is side-income and not subject to tax withholding, she does not have to include in her tax
return. He also commented, “it’s not like the IRS is ever going to know you received this money, right?” So, she just left it off of her 2019 tax returns.
On February 24, 2021, she received a CP2000 notice from the IRS for tax year 2019. The notice informs her that the IRS is assessing her the following: (1) additional income and self-employment taxes of $17,630; (2) interest in the amount of $1,586; (3) a negligence penalty of $3,526; and (4) a penalty for failing to make estimated payments in the amount of $4,407.50. This notice is based on the IRS receiving multiple 1099-MISC from all of Shannon’s clients, which totals $50,000.
Shannon had no idea that her clients would file 1099-MISC with the IRS. She thought only she got a copy of them. She is very worried that she is in a lot of trouble and is going to lose everything she’s been working so hard for. Shannon thinks it is unfair that they included all of her business income, but did not account for her business expenses. She also had no idea she had to make estimated payments on her side-gig income and doesn’t understand why there is a penalty for something that she did not know about.
Write her an email summarizing your plan to respond the notice and deal with the penalties. She will also need to understand the IRS procedures involved in resolving this situation. In addition to advising her on the current mess, your answer should also explain her specific filing and payment obligations in the future.
Legal Skills Workshops and Competitions
In recognition of the need to develop professional skills in environments beyond the classroom, several activities are sponsored each year at the Law School. These include workshops to develop client counseling and negotiation skills, and intra-school competitions in client counseling, appellate, and trial advocacy. The Law School sends the intra-school champions to the American Bar Association's Regional Client Counseling competitions every year. Recently the Michigan team was a national client counseling finalist. Michigan has also served as the host of the regional client counseling competition.