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Course: Moot Court Outline 1
School: unknown
Year: 2004
Professor: unknown
Course Outline provided by Legalnut.com

MOOT COURT MODUS OPERANDI

by

 

General Reminders, Hints & Tips

 

  1. Have a yellow pad and pen next to you at all times.

 

  1. Take with you to the podium a vanilla folder and all cases cited or relied upon, but refer only to notes in the vanilla folder if at all possible.

 

  1. Take a deep breath before you engage the bench, and do not begin until you are relaxed and ready.

 

  1. Make eye contact as much as possible – all the time, if possible. Address questions asked by specific judges to that judge, but general points to the entire bench.

 

  1. Stand-up straight and tall, with good posture. Do not lean on the podium – ever. Do not move or walk about. Keep your hands either at your sides, or posed in front of your torso – never in your pockets or fiddling with papers, pens, or other objects. Move your hands to make specific points, but do so carefully and sparingly: you’re not guiding a 747 in for a landing, so don’t act like it.

 

  1. Show respect and give due deference to the bench at all times, and never lose your cool – even if the bench intentionally provokes or tests you.

 

  1. Speak s-l-o-w-l-y, LOUDLY!, confidently, calmly, and take your time. SLOW and STEADY – don’t speak until ready.

 

  1. Class beats the smart-ass every time. And it’s better to over-dress for success than under-dress and look like less.

 

  1. Smile! J It’s a proven fact that doctors and lawyers who smile are 50-70% less likely to incur malpractice suits. (This also implies that smiling lawyers win more cases.)

 

  1. You are presenting and projecting – not reading or relaxing, so act accordingly. Remember: to sell meat, you have to sell the sizzle and the steak.

 

  1. Be aware of “red herring” or “white elephant” questions that may be asked: avoid them, or acknowledge and dismiss them, but stay on track!

 

  1. Lead the court: you are in control. Do not let the court guide you; however, if the court asks you a question, answer it immediately and definitively.

 

  1. Watch your tone: how you say it is as important as what you say.

 

  1. Pay attention to your time and keep on schedule.

 

  1. Only address the bench as, “Your Honor,” “Judge,” or “Justice,” – never “sir” or “ma’am.”

 

  1. Remember (or at least write down) the judges’ names.

 

  1. Know the facts and parties of the case on appeal down cold.

 

  1. As obvious as it sounds, make sure you know if you are appellant or appellee.

 

  1. Never use the word “I” – always “We,” or, “It is our position. . .,” or “Appellant/Appellee requests. . .,” et cetera.

 

  1. Know the names, cites, facts, and holdings of cases supporting your position cold.

 

  1. Listen very carefully to the question asked by the bench.

 

  1. Listen very carefully to the comments made by the bench.

 

  1. Answer only the question asked – never volunteer more information than is necessary or required.

 

  1. Avoid the past passive, present passive, and future passive tenses at all costs. For example, never say, “It would have seemed . . ..” or “It would seem . . ..” Employ active future, present, and then past tenses as much as possible. For example, “It will be . . ..” or “It is . . ..” or “It was . . ..” Be firm and assertive.

 

  1. Remember that secondary authority has no mandatory judicial application – this includes, treatises, law review articles, ABA opinions and rules, restatements of the law, all other non-primary non-mandatory authority, et cetera. But also remember that other primary, non-mandatory authority is especially persuasive, particularly opinions from: US Circuit Courts of Appeals; US District Courts of the Primary State; US District Courts of Secondary States; State Supreme Courts; State Appellate Courts; State Circuit Courts (virtually unpublished decisions); State District Courts (virtually unpublished decisions).

 

  1. Be sure to distinguish – and be wary of – criminal versus civil case citings.

 

  1. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so. A fantastic way to dodge the answer to an unknown question is to say openly, “Your Honor, I apologize but I am not privy to that information at this time; however, if it please the Court, I would be happy to research and brief the issue, and provide the Court with a copy of my findings by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.”

 

  1. If you’re appellant, at the beginning or your argument always request 3-5 minutes of rebuttal time.

 

  1. If you’re appellee, always begin your argument by answering questions posed by the bench to the appellant.

 

  1. Cite to the law first and public policy arguments second: remember, the Court couldn’t care less what you think, so don’t! – Know your position and stand your ground no matter what: don’t hypothesize about what would, should, or could be.

 

  1. When you receive the 3 or 2-minute warning, end your current point and move to your conclusion immediately.

 

  1. If time exhausts while you are still speaking, stop immediately, then state: “If it please the Court, I recognize that my time has expired, yet I respectfully request that the Court permit me to complete this final point.” – If the Court permits you to continue, then make your point effectively and efficiently; if the Court doesn’t permit you to continue, then say, “Thank you,” and shut-up and sit down.

 

  1. Pay very careful attention to ethics ramifications of (potential) decisions and comments: judges love to hear about the ethical and moral implications. But along those lines, also never let the bench force you to betray an ethical obligation you have to your client or the law – even if it means losing the case, being told to answer or stand silent for the duration of your time, or being held in contempt of court. A great response may often times be, “I apologize to the Court, but due to ethical, loyalty, and confidentiality requirements that I have to my client and the law, it is inappropriate for me to disclose that information at this time.” If this means you’re cuffed ‘n’ stuffed, then so be it.

 

  1. Practice. PRACTICE! PRACTICE!!! – Know your shit, and KNOW you know your shit. And, when you KNOW that KNOW that you KNOW. . .PRACTICE SOME MORE!!!!! Over-preparation will guarantee that you’re retired a multimillionaire and lounging on the beach by the time you’re 40; under-preparation will guarantee that you work till 80 as a civil servant in the inner city. Practice.

 

  1. You are an advocate – championing a valid cause, embracing truth, and promoting justice! Your opponent is the adversary – unsure, incompetent, and a general cluster fuck. Thus, BEAT YOUR OPPONENT AND PROVE YOUR POSITION! Losers say, “I tried my best,” and then go home alone and cry in their milk and cookies. Winners say, “I am the best and I just proved it!” and then go out with a group of friends, drink hard liquor, eat lobster, and entertain offers from wanna-be’s all night. Don’t be a loser. Be a winner. Believe you’re the winner; think like the winner; act like the winner – be “The Winner.” As the saying goes, “Play like a champion TODAY!”

 

APPELLANT

 

GREETING

 

  1. “May It Please The Court?”

 

  1. “Good Morning/Afternoon.”

“Todd Branch [‘insert your name’], representing the petitioner, [‘insert client’s name’), in the case before the Court today.

 

  1. At this time, I respectfully request that I be granted 3 [‘or 4 or 5, depending upon your preference – but never more than 5’] minutes for rebuttal at the conclusion of appellee’s argument.

 

ISSUE

 

  1. “The issue before this court today is. . . [‘state issue on appeal in the form of a question’]

 

  1. “The answer to that question is an unequivocal ‘YES/NO’ [‘select one, obviously’] And thus. . . [‘state what answer/resolution to question should be’]

 

REQUEST

 

  1. “We respectfully request that this Court REVERSE and REMAND the Court of Appeals’ and the Lower Court’s holdings. We ask that the Supreme Court find that. . . [‘state specific relief requested’]

 

FACTS

 

  1. “Would the Court like a brief recitation of the facts of the case at this time?”

 

[If “Yes,” then recite the facts – from memory – and state them in a light most favorable to your position; if “No,” then proceed to the next section.]

 

INTRODUCTION

 

  1. [Prepare a 1-3 minute introduction to acquaint the court with the basic ideas of the case and explain in general terms why your position is the correct one.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

REASONS

 

  1. Based upon these simple and apparent ideals, the Supreme Court should OVERTURN the Lower Courts’ rulings for the following [‘state number between 3 and 5’] reasons:

 

  1. [Reason 1 – one sentence]

 

  1. [Reason 2 – one sentence]

 

  1. [Reason 3 – one sentence] et seq., if need be. . .

 

PERSUASIVE CASE LAW and GUIDING POLICIES

 

  1. “Since there are no controlling cases in [‘state jurisdiction’], the Supreme Court reviews this case as a matter of first impression. Thus, Appellant respectfully requests that this Court seek guidance from [‘state case name of strongest case, i.e., the one most on point – which usually supporst “Reason 1” from above’].

 

  1. [Upon the completion of summarizing the first case’s facts, holdings, and logic, move on to your second strongest case – which usually supports “Reason 2” from above.]

 

  1. [Upon the completion of summarizing the first case’s facts, holdings, and logic, move on to your second strongest case – which usually supports “Reason 3” from above.]

 

  1. [et cetera, as the Court and time permits]

 

CONCLUSION

 

  1. [State a 1-3 minute conclusion here, using facts of the case to support your position, how your client’s position is well-aligned with the holdings and cases from other jurisdictions, and conclude by stating something similar to: “Thus, for the reasons identified, Appellant once again requests that this Court. . ..”]

 

  1. “Thank you.”

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Appellee’s Argument Time”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

REBUTTAL

 

  1. [Listen carefully to Appellee’s arguments, and questions posed, then use this time to address those points, then concluded with “Thank you. The Appellant rests.”]

APPELLEE

 

GREETING

 

  1. “May It Please The Court?”

 

  1. “Good Morning/Afternoon.”

 

“Todd Branch [‘insert your name’], representing the respondent, [‘insert client’s name’), in the case before the Court today.

 

ISSUE

 

  1. “The issue before this court today really is. . . [‘state issue on appeal in the form of a question, distinguishing it – if at all possible – from how Appellant stated it, in a way which is more favorable to your client.’]”

 

  1. “The answer to that question is an unequivocal ‘YES/NO’ [‘select one, obviously’] And thus. . . [‘state what answer/resolution to question should be’]

 

REQUEST

 

  1. “We respectfully request that this Court AFFIRM the Court of Appeals’ and the Lower Court’s holdings. [Make sure that the lower courts actually do agree with your position: if not, then adjust the statement accordingly.] We ask that the Supreme Court find that. . . [‘state specific relief requested’]

 

FACTS

 

  1. “Would the Court like a brief recitation of the facts of the case at this time?”

 

[If Appellant has already stated the facts of the case, then ask the court if they would like the facts re-stated again?”— If “Yes,” then recite the facts – from memory – and state them in a light most favorable to your position.

 

If “No,” then proceed to the next section. Or, if “No,” then you may request to add facts that the Appellant may have skewed or omitted in order to make his client appear more favorable.

 

Thus, this means that it is imperative that you pay careful attention to any and all facts that Appellant states during his/her argument; you need to correct inaccuracies at this time.]

 

 

 

 

RESPOND to POINTS and QUESTIONS POSED by BENCH to APPELLANT

 

 

  1. [Use the opportunity to address and answer specific questions asked to Appellant that you can distinguish in a way that is more favorable to your position. For example, you may begin by saying, “At this time, I would like to address the question asked by Judge ‘X’ about. . ..” Obviously, to pull this off effectively, you need to have paid careful attention to the questions and comments directed at the Appellant, as well as the Judge who posed the question or made the comment. Note: if you can’t do it, i.e. you lack the confidence or you didn’t pay close enough attention and take the appropriate notes, then skip this part, otherwise you’ll screw yourself royally.]

 

INTRODUCTION

 

  1. [Prepare a 1-3 minute introduction to acquaint the court with the basic ideas of the case and explain in general terms why your position is the correct one.]

 

REASONS

 

  1. Based upon these simple and apparent ideals, the Supreme Court should UPHOLD the Lower Courts’ rulings for the following [‘state number between 3 and 5’] reasons:

 

    1. [Reason 1 – one sentence]

 

    1. [Reason 2 – one sentence]

 

    1. [Reason 3 – one sentence] et seq., if need be. . .

 

PERSUASIVE CASE LAW and GUIDING POLICIES

 

  1. “Since there are no controlling cases in [‘state jurisdiction’], the Supreme Court reviews this case as a matter of first impression. Thus, Appellee respectfully requests that this Court seek guidance from [‘state case name of strongest case, i.e., the one most on point – which usually supporst “Reason 1” from above’].

 

  1. [Upon the completion of summarizing the first case’s facts, holdings, and logic, move on to your second strongest case – which usually supports “Reason 2” from above.]

 

  1. [Upon the completion of summarizing the first case’s facts, holdings, and logic, move on to your second strongest case – which usually supports “Reason 3” from above.]

 

  1. [et cetera, as the Court and time permits]

CONCLUSION

 

  1. [State a 1-3 minute conclusion here, using facts of the case to support your position, how your client’s position is well-aligned with the holdings and cases from other jurisdictions, and conclude by stating something similar to: “Thus, for the reasons identified, Appellant once again requests that this Court. . ..”]

 

  1. “Thank you. The Appellee rests.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LEGALNUT.COM NOTICES AND DISCLAIMERS:

 

 

Copyright Property. This outline is © copyrighted 2006 by Legalnut.com (Site). This outline, in whole or in part, may not be reproduced or redistributed without the written permission of Site. A limited license for personal academic use is permitted, as described below or in Site’s Terms and Conditions of Usage page on this site. This outline may not be posted on any other website without permission. Site reserves the exclusive right to distribute, change or modify this outline in whole or in part.

 

This Outlines does not constitute legal advice and is not a replacement for obtaining legal counsel.

 

No Warranties as to Accuracy. Site has made efforts to provide the best possible outlines, but, Site MAKES NO WARRANTIES AS TO THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS OUTLINE. THIS OUTLINE IS PROVIDED TO YOU ON AN AS-IS BASIS. USE IT AT YOUR OWN RISK, AND DO NOT RELY ON IT FOR LEGAL ADVICE. IF YOU NEED LEGAL HELP, PLEASE CONTACT A LICENSED AND QUALIFIED ATTORNEY IN YOUR JURISDICTION. AS THIS OUTLINE HAS BEEN WRITTEN BY A LAW STUDENT, IT MAY CONTAIN INACCURATE INFORMATION.

 

Students Can Not Claim This Outline As Their Own. Furthermore, some law schools have policies which permit law students to bring their self prepared course outlines into final exams. If your law school has such a policy, you are expressly prohibited from claiming this outline as your own or from representing that any of the other outlines contained on this Site are your own unless you are the author of this outline. If you are not sure of your law school's policy, you should contact the appropriate staff at your school.

 

Notices and Procedures for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement. If you have a claim of copyright infringement against this outline or any other content of this Site, then please see this Site’s Terms & Conditions of Use page for procedures of notifying Site of any alleged infringement.

 

 

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