Practice Skills Competitions
Co-curricular competitions afford students opportunities to further sharpen their legal practice skills through participation in a variety of intramural, regional, and national student competitions.
Each year, many of our students compete internally in the Prize Moot Court Competition and the 2L Mock Trial Competition. Students who excelled in these competitions as well as in the various aspects of the skills training curriculum have the opportunity to compete in several external competitions, involving trial advocacy, client counseling, mediation, and negotiation through which they earn academic credit through Co-Curricular Competitions.
2L Prize Moot Court Competition
Each year, approximately half of the second year class participates in the College of Law’s Prize Moot Court Competition. Teams of two students research and write an appellate brief and participate in several rounds of oral arguments. The final argument is an annual highlight of the spring semester at the College of Law. Distinguished jurists and members of the legal community sit on the panel of judges for the final argument.
Members of the Moot Court Society participate in the formulation of the Prize Moot Court problem, the administration of the program, and the judging of arguments in other programs. Membership in the Moot Court Society is automatically conferred upon any eligible full-time student at the College of Law who registers and competes in the NIU Prize Moot Court Competition. The Moot Court Board is headed by a chief justice and a number of associate justices. Additional information about Moot Court, including current competitions and board members, can be found on the Moot Court Society pages.
External Appellate Advocacy Competitions
Students who have excelled in the Prize Moot Court Competition compete in several external appellate advocacy competitions during their third year. In recent years, teams from the College of Law have participated in the following competitions:
- International Moot Court Competition in Information Technology & Privacy Law
- Appellate Lawyers Association Competition
- Chicago Bar Association Moot Court Competition
- International Law Jessup Cup Competition
- National Latino Law Student Association National Moot Court Competition
- Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition
- ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition
2L Mock Trial Competition
The 2L Mock Trial Competition gives students their first opportunity at presenting a case in a courtroom. The skill that is most important to the trial attorney is the art of persuasion. Therefore, the emphasis of the competition is on putting facts together to present a persuasive case to a jury. The competition is intended to be an introduction to the real life trial practice that many of our students will experience as states attorneys, public defenders, etc.
The competition brings together students from all three classes. Second year students act as trial attorneys. First year students serve as witnesses and jurors. Third year students with trial advocacy experience act as judges for preliminary rounds.
External Trial Advocacy Competitions
During their third year, students can continue to refine their trial skills by competing in co-curricular trial advocacy competitions. Students experience an intense immersion in development of a theory of a case and preparation of the case for eventual presentation at trial. The competitions are an excellent opportunity to combine knowledge learned in Evidence with skills gained in Trial Advocacy in order to become a very effective trial lawyer.
The College of Law annually participated in the following competitions:
Interviewing clients, ascertaining their legal needs, and providing counseling, are among the most fundamental and important skills of the practicing attorney. These skills are strongly emphasized in the Lawyering Skills course. Students have an opportunity to further practice those skills in the ABA Client Counseling Competition, in which over 100 teams enter nationwide: http://www.abanet.org/lsd/competitions/clientcounseling/
Teams from the College of Law have twice reached the national finals, finishing as high as second in the nation. The College of Law also has hosted the national finals of the competition.
Representing clients in a mediation setting is an essential skill for lawyers. Students at the College of Law have the opportunity to learn this skill in Mediation, Theory & Practice and Alternative Dispute Resolution. The ABA Representation in Mediation Competition, in which law students role-play as advocates and clients in a mediation setting, gives students a further opportunity to refine the skills of client representation in mediation, as it measures how well students model appropriate preparation for and representation of a client in mediation as well as provides students a valuable opportunity to experience the mediation process.