Handbook Menu

6.3 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 typically is 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 may earn credit through the Moot Court Boot Camp seminar and Hinton Moot Court competition in a number of ways. Please note the following rules and restrictions:

 

  1. Moot Court Boot Camp is a weekend seminar ordinarily offered in autumn quarter. One credit will be granted for the weekend course and an additional credit will be granted upon completion of two judged arguments as part of the Hinton Moot Court Competition. This seminar provides experiential credit.
  2. The semi-final round of the Hinton Moot Court competition, typically in the winter quarter, may provide students with three pass/fail credits. The faculty judges of the semifinal round have final authority to decide whether students merit credit. Semifinalists are automatically registered in a three-credit offering in winter quarter. Faculty judges submit pass/fail grades 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.
  3. Please note: participation in the Hinton Moot Court competition cannot count towards experiential credit because it does not have a classroom instructional component, which is an ABA requirement in order to count as experiential. The Moot Court competition can provide writing credit.
  4. By default, the three credits for Hinton Moot Court competition 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. Students who choose this option will see enrollment and credits for Hinton Moot Court competition in the spring quarter on their transcript. Faculty judges submit grades 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.
  5. Neither partial credit nor other reallocation of credits is allowed.
  6. Please note that each student may derive a maximum of three credits from all Journal, or Hinton Moot Court Competition work. Students taking an advocacy course where credit is based in part on participating in the fall Hinton Moot Court Competition are not considered to have derived credit from the Hinton Moot Court work for the purposes of this rule.
  7. Credits earned for Hinton Moot Court Competition participation count towards the Law School’s 40 core credit requirement, but cannot count towards the experiential learning requirement.

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, provided participation was open to all students. (If, for example, a team is selected via a try-out process, the try-outs must be publicized.)  Funding is not available for competitions that require participants to miss any classes or exams. To learn whether funding is available, please contact the Office of the Dean of Students.

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).