Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA
 

Intramural Competitions and Honors Advocacy Program Selection

Intramural Competitions

Moot Court | Negotiation | Trial Advocacy

Brief Awards

Honors Program Membership and Selection

Moot Court | Negotiation | Trial Advocacy

Transfer Student Selection Criteria

Southwestern's three advocacy honors programs - Moot Court, Negotiation and Trial Advocacy - hold intramural competitions immediately following completion of the mandatory advocacy round of the Spring LAWS II course.

Intramural Competitions

Switching From a Mandatory LAWS Round to Optional Rounds in a Different Competition

Students must complete the mandatory LAWS round that is connected to their LAWS track, but may decide to switch into a different competition for the subsequent optional rounds. Students may compete in only one program's optional rounds. As explained in more detail below, the Negotiation and Trial Advocacy intramural competitions are completely independent of the mandatory LAWS round. The Moot Court competition does build off of the mandatory LAWS round; however, a special substitute round is scheduled for students switching into the Moot Court competition from the Negotiation and Trial Practice LAWS tracks. The scores from this special "Switchers' Round" will be used as the equivalent of the scores of the Appellate Advocacy students in the mandatory LAWS round. In addition, each honors program will host a workshop for students switching into their competition from other LAWS tracks to ensure these students will be well-prepared for the optional rounds.

Moot Court

The Moot Court Honors Program's intramural competition is open to all first-year day, evening, PLEAS, and part-time day students who have completed the requirements of the LAWS II course.

The Moot Court intramural competition consists of five rounds of competition following the one mandatory advocacy round that all students participating in the Appellate Advocacy track must complete to earn credit for the LAWS II course:

  • Round One (for students in the Appellate Advocacy LAWS track)
  • Switchers Round (for students switching into the Moot Court Intramural Competition from the Negotiation or Trial Practice LAWS tracks)
  • Intramural Round Two (for all competitors)
  • Octa Finals: top 16 advocates 
  • Quarter Finals: top 8 advocates
  • Semi Finals: top 4 advocates
  • Finals: top 2 advocates

At the conclusion of Round Two, the top sixteen oral advocates are invited to compete in single elimination rounds. These sixteen finalists are chosen on the basis of a combined score of points from the two oral rounds and the individual student's brief score. The oral scores are weighted 60 percent, and the brief score is weighted 40 percent. The briefs are scored by the Moot Court Honors Program's Board of Governors. Beginning in the octa round, each advocate must be prepared to argue either side (either appellant or appellee). Advocates are seeded and paired at the beginning of every round.

Typically, Round Two and the Octa and Quarter Finals are held at the Los Angeles County Superior Court. The Semi-Final and Final rounds are held at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Pasadena, California. Thirty-two participants will receive awards in recognition of their accomplishments in the competition: the sixteen octa finalists and an additional sixteen students selected from the first two rounds (including the switcher round when applicable).

Negotiation

The Negotiation Honors Program's intramural competition is open to all first-year day, evening, PLEAS, and part-time day students who have completed the requirements of their LAWS II course and other students who will graduate after (rather than before) December of the year of the competition. The Negotiation Honors Program's intramural competition is not based on the same case file as used in the LAWS II Negotiation track and is not connected to the mandatory LAWS round. The intramural competition consists of five rounds of competition after the mandatory LAWS advocacy round has concluded:

  • Intramural Round One (for all competitors)
    Octa Finals: top 16 teams
  • Quarter Finals: top 8 teams
  • Semi Finals: top 4 teams, 8 advocates
  • Finals: top 2 teams, 4 advocates

In the first rounds of the intramural competition, advocates negotiate as two-person teams. At the conclusion of the first round, the top sixteen teams (thirty-two advocates) are invited to compete in single elimination rounds. The top sixteen teams are chosen on the basis of score totals from the first intramural round. Only first-year students are selected to compete in the single elimination rounds. Sixteen students receive awards in recognition of their accomplishments in the competition: the eight semi-finalists and eight additional students selected from the quarter-final round.

Trial Advocacy

The Trial Advocacy Honors Program's (TAHP) intramural competition is open to all first-year day, evening, PLEAS, and part-time day students who have completed the requirements of their LAWS II course. The TAHP intramural competition is not based on the same case file as used in the LAWS II Trial Practice track and is not connected to the mandatory LAWS round. The intramural competition consists of five rounds of competition after the mandatory LAWS advocacy round has concluded:

  • Intramural Round One (for all competitors)
  • Intramural Round Two (for all competitors)
  • Quarter Finals: top 8 advocates
  • Semi Finals: top 4 advocates
  • Finals: top 2 advocates

In the first round of the Trial Advocacy intramural competition, advocates conduct a closing argument. The best advocates of the first round are invited to compete in the second round, where they conduct a direct examination and a closing argument. At the conclusion of the second round, the top eight advocates are invited to compete in single elimination rounds. The eight finalists are chosen on the basis of a combined score of points from the first two intramural rounds. Sixteen students will receive awards in recognition of their accomplishments in the competition: the eight finalists and eight additional students selected from the first two optional rounds.

Brief Awards

In addition to the awards for the top oralists in the three competitions, top brief writers will also be recognized. LAWS professors will determine the winners of these awards. Each professor will select a certain number of awardees proportionate to their total number of students.

Honors Program Membership and Selection

Students who perform well in the intramural competitions have the opportunity to interview with one of the three honors programs. Students may only interview with one program. The expectation is that most students will interview with the program based on the intramural competition in which they participated. Programs will extend membership invitations during the summer before August 1.

Note: Transfer students should refer to alternate details at the bottom of this page.

Moot Court

Students must interview to be considered for membership in the Moot Court Honors Program. The Moot Court Honors Program may decide who they wish to interview, but at least will invite the following students to interview for membership:

  • The top 32 oral advocates from the intramural competition (the 16 finalists, and 16 honorable mentions)
  • The 16 recipients of brief writer awards
  • The top 8 finalists of the Trial Advocacy intramural competition and the top 8 finalists of the Negotiation intramural competition
  • Any student receiving a grade of an A or A+ in their LAWS II course

After interviewing, membership selection is made by the Moot Court Board of Governors and is based on a number of criteria. Among them are the oral and brief scores, the attitude of the candidate, and a willingness to make a year-long commitment to the program. In addition, to be eligible for consideration for Moot Court membership, a student must have a GPA of above a 2.9.

Negotiation

Students must interview to be considered for membership in the Negotiation Honors Program. The Negotiation Honors Program may decide who they wish to interview, but at least will invite the top 16 advocates (i.e., the top 8 finalists and the 8 honorable mentions) to interview for membership, so long as those finalists meet the eligibility criteria. Other interviews will be granted based on a student's individual performance in the preliminary and mandatory rounds. A student may be invited to interview even if the team does not advance to the single-elimination rounds. After interviewing, membership selection is made by the program's faculty advisors with the assistance of the Negotiation Honors Program Board of Governors. Selections are based on the student's performance in the intramural competition, the attitude of the candidate, and a willingness to commit to the program. To be eligible for consideration for the Negotiation Honors Program, a student must have a GPA of above a 2.33.

Trial Advocacy

Students must interview to be considered for membership in the Trial Advocacy Honors Program (TAHP). The Trial Advocacy Honors Program may decide who they wish to interview, but at least will invite the top 8 finalists (i.e., those students who competed in the quarter finals) to interview for membership. After interviewing, membership selection is made by the program's faculty advisors with the assistance of the Trial Advocacy Honors Program Board of Governors. Selections are based on the student's performance in the intramural competition, the attitude of the candidate, and a willingness to commit to the program. To be eligible for consideration for the Trial Advocacy Honors Program, a student must have a GPA of above a 2.33.

Transfer Student Selection Criteria

Moot Court - Transfer students are eligible to interview for the Moot Court Honors Program if the student was accepted in the Moot Court program from their past institution. They will be required to show verification of acceptance from their past institution before beginning the interview process.

Negotiation - Transfer students are eligible to participate in the Spring Negotiation Upper Division Intramural Competition in March/April of each year. Detailed information is available at the start of the Spring semester.

Trial Advocacy - Transfer students are eligible to participate in the TAHP Fall Tryouts for SCALE I and Transfer Students at the beginning of September. Detailed information is available at the start of the Fall semester.

Transfer students interested in one of these program should contact Robert Mena, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, at rmena@swlaw.edu or (213) 738-6716 for more information.