Appellate & Trial Competitions

Learning Through Action

Students compete in moot court competitions to develop skills in appellate brief writing and oral argument, and gain valuable trial practice experience. The Dean's Fund and endowments provide financial assistance to support student participation in these competitions. Colorado Law teams have consistently been extremely competitive in their competitions. Students may earn academic credit for their participation. Selection of teams varies by competition and from year to year, depending on student interest. The competition program is managed by a select group of students comprising the Barristers' Council.  Barristers' selects competitions, provides opportunities for various specialty legal interests and gives interested 3Ls leadership opportunities. The Barristers' masthead is attached here.

Students seeking credit for participation in external mock trial competitions are required to prepare for such competition by completing law school courses in Evidence (three hours) and Trial Advocacy (two hours). Completion of Intersession Trial Advocacy satisfies the second requirement, as does completion of any other law school course called Trial Advocacy. Completion of the five-hour course Evidence and Trial Practice satisfies both requirements.

Colorado Law Internal Competitions

  • Jim R. Carrigan Cup: The Carrigan Cup Student Trial Competition is the law school's most prestigious in-house competition for aspiring litigators.  Two accomplished teams perform an entire trial in our own Wittemyer Courtroom before a panel of distinguished trial judges and trial lawyers. In 2012 the judging panel included a United States District Judge, a Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, and a Regent of the University of Colorado. The Carrigan Cup endowment was established by family and friends in honor of judge and former faculty member Jim R. Carrigan, and is often attended by members of the Colorado legal community to honor Judge Carrigan and his family as well as the student competitors.
  • Rothgerber Moot Court Competition: The Rothgerber Moot Court Competition is Colorado Law's premier internal appellate advocacy challenge. Top Colorado Law students compete for honor and prizes in this traditional capstone event that showcases their talent. Problems involve ripped from the headlines issues such as First Amendment protection, firearm issues and rights of the accused.  The competition is typically judged by distinguished members of the federal and state appellate bench. This Colorado Law competition is sponsored by the late Ira C. Rothgerber Jr., in memory of his father, Judge Ira C. Rothgerber. Teams are coached by our Legal Writing Professors.
  • Reilly-Pozner Challenge is our internal, student run try-out for the mock trial team and Barristers’ Counsel open to first semester 2L students.  The finals are judges by leading trial lawyers, prosecutors and public defenders.
  • Colorado Appellate Advocacy Competition is Colorado Law’s internal try-outs for the national moot trial team and Barristers’ Counsel.  This comp is run by upper class moot court leaders.  The top students join the mock trial team as members of the Barristers’ Council.
  • Colorado Cup.  First year intramural competition where aspiring litigators and anyone who thinks they might be can face off in a fun student run event.
  • CU-DU Hogan Lovells Cupis a longstanding student tradition where 1Ls at Colorado Law and our friends in Denver face off for fun and glory. Held alternating years in Boulder and Denver.

     

  • Transactional and Non-Traditional Try-Outs.  Competitions are not just for litigators at Colorado Law.  Students interested in transactional law compete internally to represent the CU on Barristers’ Council and in various competitions that involve business law, negotiations, client counseling and/or other non-litigation legal fields.

State and National Competitions

  • ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition.  Since 1950, the New York City Bar and the American College of Trial Lawyers have sponsored this competition, where every year over 150 law schools compete in the regional rounds throughout the United States, and the winners advance to the final rounds held at the New York City Bar. Our elite Rothgerber team has competed in this rigorous national competition.  Topics typically include cutting edge Constitutional issues.
  • Child Welfare & Adoption Law Moot Court Competition. Students argue current topics before a simulated state supreme court.  The students are coached by family law clinical faculty or experienced family law practitioners.
  • Constance Baker Motley National Moot Court Competition in Constitutional Law: This competition is hosted by the American Constitution Society, a national organization of lawyers, judges, law students, and others interested in ensuring that the fundamental principles of human dignity, individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, and access to justice enjoy a meaningful place in American law.
  • Edward L. Bryant, Jr. National Health Law Transactional Moot Court CompetitionThis competition, held at the University of Chicago Loyola Law School, exposes law students to the corporate and regulatory practice of health care law.  Students apply corporate lawyering skills through written and live presentations.  Three-person teams prepare a legal memorandum that summarizes their legal and business advice for a hypothetical problem, and then present their recommendations to a distinguished board of attorneys and health care executives.
  • Hispanic National Bar Association's Annual Moot Court Competition: The HNBA competition is made up of approximately 30 schools with a two to three member team. Students must first write a brief, then engage in a month-long series of practice rounds before traveling to the competition. The competition problem is prepared by the HNBA and typically involves issues of constitutional law, often coupled with a statutory claim.
  • Inter-American Sustainable Development Moot Court Competition:  Students participated in the inaugural and subsequent competitions in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  This competition is presented in English and Portuguese, but students need only present in one language. Our Nicholas R. Doman Society of International Law actively participates in the competition and provides financial support for the team.
  • Mardi Gras Invitational Sports Law Competition: Each year, Tulane University School of law Moot Court, in conjunction with the Tulane Sports Lawyers' Journal, hosts the Mardi Gras Sports Law Competition, an appellate competition focusing on sports-law related topics.
  • National Invitational Trial Tournament of Champions.  As a testament to Colorado Law's competitive trial teams, we have been invited to compete in the elite tournament of champions hosted by St. John's University School of Law in New York City,
  • National Moot Court Competition in Child Welfare and Adoption Law: This is the first ever competition on child welfare and adoption law. It is at Capital University Law School in partnership with The National Center for Adoption Law & Policy, The National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges, The ABA Center on Children and the Law, The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, and The National Association of Counsel for Children.
  • National Student Trial Advocacy Competition: Sponsoring American Association for Justice, this is an annual nationwide mock trial competition for law students to develop and practice their trial advocacy skills before distinguished members of the bar and bench. 
  • The National Trial Competition: Sponsored by the Texas Young Lawyers Association and the American College of Trial Lawyers, and established in 1975 to encourage and strengthen students advocacy skills through quality competition and valuable interaction with members of the bench and bar.
  • National Telecommunications Moot Court Competition: Co-sponsored by the Columbus School of Law and the Federal Communications Bar Association since 1994, the National Telecommunications Moot Court Competition requires teams to submit a brief and deliver oral arguments before a panel of practicing attorneys who specialize in communications law. Our students placed first nationwide in 2011 and second in 2010.
  • Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition: This is the only moot court competition devoted to federal Indian Law. The focus of the competition is on a significant problem within federal Indian Law.
  • National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition: Pace University School of Law founded the competition in 1989. The legal problem involves timely issues of national importance to the practice of environmental law. The competition tests the oral and written advocacy skills of law students in appellate court litigation.
  • Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition: Jessup Students moot (brief and argue) a complex topic of international law. Colorado Law fields a team of up to five students. Our Nicholas R. Doman Society of International Law actively participates in the competition and provides financial support for the team. Recent topics have included expropriation of foreign investment, international terrorism, and child abduction. 
  • Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition: The International Trademark Association has been presenting an annual competition on trademark and unfair competition law for U.S. law students for over 20 years.
  • SIU National Health Law Moot Court CompetitionThe oldest health law moot court event in the nation, this appellate competition allows teams of two-three students to write and argue an appellate brief before a distinguished panel of judges, competing against representatives from over 30 law schools around the country.