Moot Court or Law Review?

14 Feb

First my bias: I am president of our Moot Court Honors Board.

Q: With all this talk about employment, I thought I'd ask a question about the value of being on a moot court team.  Does anyone have any info they could share about how membership on a moot court team is valued in a job application?

This is only anecdotal but in the Fall, before moot court, I sent out about 30 letters looking for a summer clerkship. 

At this point I was on Law Review.  Got no interviews.  In the Spring, after advancing to the nationals in the Rich Moot Court and including my red covered brief which won best appellee brief in the Western Region as a writing sample, I got two interviews in less than a week after sending  out another 10-15 resumes.

Q: Is it only a plus in litigation jobs?

Actually moot court generally refers to competitions that are like appellate trials.  Trial court competition is generally termed mock trial.

Mock trial puts an emphasis on your skills in examining witnesses, your grasp of the rules of evidence, and your skills in summarizing to a jury. That would be primarily of value to would be litigators.

Moot court emphasizes the rules of law and legal argument.  In most competitions one half of your score is based on your written brief so both writing and oral skills are important.  Both of those are based on your legal reasoning skills.  While the setting of moot court might make it seem rather specialized, after all very few cases go up on appeal particularly on the hard questions of law you find in moot problems, it really is an excellent way to develop your skills of legal analysis and persuasion.  I think moot court skills could be useful to a transactional attorney.  It helps you to see how courts sort out legal problems.

Q: How prestigious is it considered?  Are there any comparisons to law review, as far as a resume is concerned?

The conventional wisdom is that law review is more prestigious.  And lawyers are nothing if not conventional.  But moot court is a resume builder particularly if you advance in a national competition.

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