What is Moot Court?
Moot Court, a traditional law school activity now growing in the undergraduate arena, prepares students for the rigors of arguing a case before the United States Supreme Court. Moot Court is an outstanding opportunity for students to experience the practice of Constitutional Law first hand. We hope to build a program that provides not only good instruction and training for students in their future endeavors, but also to create a program that is competitive nationally. While the program has been in existence only since 2017, the students’ performance at past tournaments demonstrates we are well on our way to achieving that national standing.
As of Fall 2023, the SFSU Moot Court Team is ranked #19 in the entire United States—our highest ranking thus far. This is out of about 125 teams nationwide.
In January of 2022, SFSU returned to the National Competition with the team of Sophia Benzoni & Pearl Corbett, who successfully advanced to the out-rounds.
In the 2021-22 season more than three-quarters of our teams advanced to elimination rounds at their respective Regional competition (the highest percentage in SFSU history)
In the 2021-22 season, 6 students finished in the top-20 orators at their respective Regionals (Pearl Corbett, Ernest Pacheco, Sophia Benzoni, Kaitlyn Elam, Jacob Grilley, and Josh Mamalyga).
AMCA Northeast Regional: November 13-14, 2020
AMCA Western Regional: November 6-7, 2020 - the hybrid team of SFSU/Berkeley (Abigail Richards-Hatton - SFSU; Megan Cistulli - Berkeley) placed as the #1 (Cistulli) and #3 (Richards-Hatton) individual orators.
SFSU/Cal State Fullerton: October 25, 2020
SFSU/UCSB Scrimmage: October 18, 2020
2020 National Tournament: SFSU team (Owen Nelson and Aaron Gamez) were in the final 32.
2019 AMCA: SFSU was the 2019 AMCA National Brief Writing Champion (team comprised of Yana Gagloeva and Liam Sidebottom).
Colorado Christian University Invitational:October 2018 - All three teams advanced to Sweet 16. Two students (Owen Nelson and Yana Gagloeva) placed top 15 speakers out of 54 students.
Fresno State Scrimmage: September 2018 - Two teams advanced to Semi-Finals. Owen Nelson and Abigail Richards advanced to the Final Round. Yana Gagloeva placed #1 orator and Devon Montes placed #5 orator.
Long Beach Invitational: April 2018 - Two teams advanced to Semi-Finals. 4 students ranked top 10 orators.
Fresno State Regionals: November 2017 - Two teams advanced to top 16.
April 30-May 1: California Classic
How Does Moot Court Work?
Moot Court is an academic competition in which students engage in legal/appellate advocacy before a fictional United States Supreme Court. Each team consists of two SF State students who argue one constitutional issue apiece. In 2018 the American Moot Court Association (AMCA) “case problem” consisted of a fact-pattern involving the 14th Amendment right to Equal Protection and 1st Amendment right to Freedom of Expression (specifically, Affirmative Action and Employee Speech). Team members prepare “argument outlines” to serve as assistive aids during the competition, which include detailed legal analysis of the applicable controlling law on these constitutional issues.
During the competition, students present oral argument to a panel of judges who evaluate their performance, both on legal substance and oratorical skill. Students must present arguments at least three times, and must argue both sides of the case during the preliminary rounds of the tournament.
For Moot Court contact information email Prof. Nick Conway at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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What is your favorite part about moot court and how has it impacted your time at San Francisco State?
“Critical reading and writing are something I have really perfected in my time in Moot Court. Being able to read something and pick up on little details to utilize in my writing has made me a better student all around.” - Abigail Richards
“Acquiring the ability to speak in front of multiple people has helped my public speaking confidence tremendously. Additionally, my writing proficiency has increased dramatically in preparation for law school.”
- Devon Montes
“Moot Court has allowed me to see the substantive arguments on both sides of a topic about which I care a great deal. Apart from allowing me to consider difficult cases from opposing points of view, the experience of arguing your case to a panel of judges will undoubtedly prove to be a crucial component in my future success.”
- Liam Sidebottom
“Moot Court has expanded not only my critical reading skills but has also helped cultivate the ability to formulate arguments for both sides of a salient issue. It forces you to not only intimately understand both sides of an issue but requires you to construct arguments that must stand up to the analysis of others.”
- Owen Nelson
“Moot Court has taught me to see both sides of a given issue. I am able to clearly articulate the law, make an argument, and advocate in front of a panel of judges. But more importantly, moot court has given me lifelong friends and a coach, who play a tremendous role not only in my education but my path to law school, which I am forever grateful for.”
- Yana Gagloeva