1.19 Moot Court

Hinton Moot Court Competition

The Hinton Moot Court Competition, named for Judge Edward W. Hinton (Professor of Law, 1913-36), is open to all second- and third-year students (except those third-year students who made it to the semi-finals during the previous year). The competition provides students the opportunity to develop skills in writing and appellate advocacy. Moot Court participants advance through three rounds. The Moot Court Competition is conducted by the Hinton Moot Court Board, which is typically made up of semi-finalists and finalists from the previous year, under the supervision of the Office of the Dean of Students and the Faculty Moot Court Committee 

The Fall Round

The focus of the preliminary round is on oral argument — no brief writing is required at this stage. After studying the briefs and record of an actual case and participating in practice arguments with student judges, each competitor must argue both sides of the case to panels of local alumni attorneys. Approximately 12-14 students advance to the semi-final round.

The Winter Round

The students who have advanced to the semi-final round must brief and argue a new case during the Winter quarter. A panel of faculty members judges the semi-final arguments and selects the four best advocates on the basis of their written and oral advocacy skills. Semifinalists are recognized as winners of the Mulroy Prize for Excellence in Appellate Advocacy.

The Spring Round

The four finalists work in teams of two on another new case during the Spring quarter. A panel of distinguished judges, usually federal appellate judges, presides at the final argument before the Law School community. The winning team is awarded the Hinton Cup; the runners-up are awarded the Llewellyn Cup.

Credit for Moot Court

Students participating in the semifinal round may be eligible for three pass/fail credits.  The faculty judges of the semifinal round have final authority to decide whether students merit credit and whether the WP requirement has been met by the students’ semifinals or finals briefs.  Semifinalists are automatically registered in a three-credit offering in Winter quarter.  Faculty judges submit grades and certify satisfaction of the WP to the Law School Office of the Registrar via the usual class grade rosters, no later than the Winter quarter exam-derived grades or applicable graduating students’ grades deadline, whichever comes first.  Students who fail to meet the threshold for credit but make a good faith effort to do so (as determined by the judges) receive a mark of W. Students who fail to make a good faith effort receive a failing grade.

Students may earn credit but not meet the WP, but may not meet the WP and not earn credit. Students who have already satisfied the WP requirement are still eligible for credit, so long as the judges find that the WP requirement was satisfied by the semifinals or finals brief.

By default, the three credits are allocated to Winter quarter; finalists may choose to forego credit for the Winter round and receive three credits for their Spring round work instead, provided that the Winter round faculty agrees to review the Spring round briefs and certify them for credit; students must notify the Office of the Registrar in writing no later than the first day of classes of the Spring quarter; such option will be recorded as a two-quarter enrollment (Winter and Spring); faculty judges submit grades and certify satisfaction of the WP to the Law School Office of the Registrar via the usual class grade rosters, no later than the Spring quarter exam-derived grades or applicable graduating students’ grades deadline, whichever comes first.  Neither partial credit nor other reallocation of credits is allowed. Please note that each student may derive a maximum of three credits from all Law Review, Journal, and/or Hinton Moot Court Competition work.

Other Moot Court Competitions

Students often participate in moot court competitions hosted by other law schools.  Students may participate in outside moot court competitions, so long as they do not require the student participants to miss any classes or exams or otherwise interfere with their coursework.  Students may not receive course credit for outside moot court competitions or similar activities, such as mock arbitrations. 

As a general rule, the Law School does not provide funding for outside moot court competitions.  There may, however, be special funds available from donors depending on the competition topic.  If such funding is available, it is typically capped at $500 per team and may be used to cover registration costs.  Funding is not available for competitions that require participants to miss any classes or exams. To learn whether funding is available, please contact the Dean of Students or the Associate Director of Student Affairs.

Students seeking funding for an outside moot court competition must be sure to adhere to the University and Law School restrictions on reimbursements and costs.  For information on reimbursement procedures, please refer to the Student Organization Handbook (http://www.law.uchicago.edu/students/organizations/handbook).