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.
Michigan Law 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 90 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 JD students is a test of the contestant’s 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 quarter-final round is held early in the winter term, and a semi-final round is held in the middle of the winter term.
The top two competitors advance to the final round, typically held in late March or 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.
The Dimond Prize is awarded each year for the best scholarly work in civil rights, constitutional law, or judicial review.
Michigan Law students, graduate students, and junior faculty are eligible to submit papers, essays, articles, theses, or books for award consideration.
Submissions are due to the Office of Student Life in mid-May, a faculty committee reviews submissions throughout the summer, and the Office of Student Life typically announces the prize winner by the end of July.
The winning paper is awarded a cash prize.
The Dimond Prize award is made available through the generosity of Paul R. Dimond, ’69.
The Kouba Prize is awarded each year to outstanding student papers written on European Union Law or European Integration (“EU Law”), and outstanding papers on a topic of public international law relating to the peace and security among nations (“International Peace and Security”).
All current Michigan Law JD and LLM students are eligible to submit papers for award consideration.
Submissions are due to the Office of Student Life in mid-May, a faculty committee reviews submissions throughout the summer, and the Office of Student Life typically announces prize winners by the end of July.
Winning papers are awarded a cash prize.
The Kouba Prize awards are made available through the generosity of Jon Henry Kouba, ’65.
Moot Court Competitions
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 Cardozo BMI Entertainment and Media Law Moot Court Competition and the Recording Academy’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 Opportunities
In the past, the Intellectual Property Student Association (IPSA) has offered four moot court competitions for Michigan Law students to participate in:
- The Giles S. Rich Memorial Patent Litigation Moot Court Competition
- USPTO’s International Patent Drafting Competition
- The Saul Lefkowitz Trademark Moot Court Competition
- The BMI Copyright Moot Court Competition
Across these four moot courts, IPSA offers competition experiences in each branch of intellectual property law: patents, trademarks, and copyright.
Each competition offers students to develop legal writing and oral advocacy skills within the IP law field.
Any student interested in any branch of intellectual property can apply to participate, including 1Ls.
Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition
The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is an international moot court competition between law schools in more than 100 countries.
Each school fields a five-member team which competes in written and oral advocacy on a public international law topic. Michigan’s team is chosen by a tryout process, organized by the Michigan International Law Moot Court Association (MILMCA), at the beginning of each school year.
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 are held each spring in Washington, DC.
The Michigan Law team has historically done very well in competitions, winning the United States Competition in 1998 and routinely placing in both the written and oral components of the competition.
Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition
The Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition is a unique opportunity for students to confront modern problems in space law on an international level.
Students compete in teams of three to write memorials and present oral arguments first at the North American preliminary round in Washington, DC, and, if successful there, at the final round, which is held in a different city around the globe each year.
North American competition rounds are judged by experienced attorneys in the field of space law, hailing both from government entities, such as NASA and the U.S. Army, as well as from private practice.
The final round is presented in front of judges from the International Court of Justice.
The competition is open to all students at the Law School.
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 federal Indian law, tribal law, and pressing legal issues affecting Native Americans.
NALSA serves as an information source for Native American law students on educational financial assistance, educational opportunities, and employment opportunities.
In past years, members have successfully competed in the annual National NALSA Moot Court Competition and Writing Competition.
NALSA membership is open to the entire Law School community. Non-native membership is welcomed and encouraged.
Trial Advocacy Society
The Trial Advocacy Society—informally known as the mock trial team—is a select group of students who compete against other law school mock trial teams at regional and national tournaments throughout the academic year.
In 2023, the team was named a regional champion and a national quarterfinalist at the AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition.
In the past few years, students have attended competitions held in New York, Houston, Washington DC, New Orleans, Cleveland, and Detroit. While some members of the team participated in mock trial as an undergraduate, many competitors have no prior experience.
Michigan Trial Academy
To ensure that all students at Michigan Law have the opportunity to learn valuable trial advocacy skills, the mock trial team is hosting the inaugural Michigan Trial Academy in Fall 2023. The program offers an immersive and hands-on introduction to trial advocacy for new and returning students, and no prior trial advocacy experience is required or expected. For beginners, the program will cover the basics of conducting a trial; for mock trial veterans, the program offers an opportunity to experience the law school competition format. In any case, trial advocacy develops skills that are valuable to every lawyer: organizing evidence, simplifying complex legal topics, and adapting to an opponent’s arguments.
The Trial Academy consists of two training sessions per week during the Fall semester. The topics covered include (but are not limited to) opening statements, direct examinations, cross examinations, closing arguments, and the rules of evidence. Many weeks will feature a guest lecture from Michigan Law professors. At the end of the semester, participants will compete in mock trials against other Trial Academy students.
In the Winter semester, a select number of students from the program will be asked to represent the law school at national mock trial tournaments across the country.
Membership in the Trial Advocacy Society is open to the entire Law School community.
If you have any questions about the mock trial team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions about the Trial Academy, please email email@example.com.
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 more than 80 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.
In the spring, a portion of the team travels to Vienna, Austria—along with teams from over 370 schools around the world—to compete in the oral argument portion of the competition.
The Michigan Law team has also regularly been selected to participate in pre-moot competitions, including competitions hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Fordham School of Law in New York City, and the Loyola University School of Law in Chicago, Illinois.