Rothgerber Conference

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 and is overseen by the Director of Experiential Learning.  Barristers' Council selects competitions, provides opportunities for various specialty legal interests and provides interested 3Ls leadership opportunities. 

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

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. The Carrigan Cup endowment was established by family and friends in honor of judge and former faculty member Jim R. Carrigan, and is attended by members of the Colorado legal community to honor Judge Carrigan and his family as well as the student competitors.

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. 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.

The Purvis Gray Thomson Challenge is Colorado Law's internal, student run try-out for the mock trial team and Barristers’ Counsel. The finals are judges by leading trial lawyers, prosecutors and public defenders.

CAAC is Colorado Law’s internal try-outs for the national moot court team and Barristers’ Counsel. This competition is run by upper class moot court leaders. The top students join the moot court board as members of the Barristers’ Council.

First year intramural competition where aspiring litigators and anyone who thinks they might be can face off in a fun student run event.

The CU-DU Cup is a longstanding student tradition where 1Ls at Colorado Law and our friends in Denver face off for fun and glory. This competition is 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 Colorado Law 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

Please see below for some of the Moot Court & Mock Trial Competitions that Colorado Law students have participated in over the years.

The ABA Law Student Division National Appellate Advocacy Competition (NAAC) is a moot court competition that emphasizes the development of oral advocacy skills through a realistic appellate advocacy experience. Moot court competitors participate in a hypothetical appeal to the United States Supreme Court. The competition involves writing a brief as either respondent or petitioner and then arguing the case in front of the mock court.

Students who participate in this competition will have the opportunity to complete an appellate brief and argue on an Intellectual Property issue. Learn more.

The Family and Youth Law Center at Capital University Law School proudly hosts the annual National Moot Court Competition in Child Welfare & Adoption Law. Law students experience a one-of-a-kind opportunity to develop and refine their advocacy skills through briefing and presenting oral arguments related to arguing case scenarios involving timely, complex, and challenging issues in family law.

Hosted by The University of Wisconsin Law School, this competition affords competitors the opportunity to write an appellate brief and argue on Constitutional Law issues. Learn more.

The annual Wechsler Competition focuses on topics in substantive criminal law. Problems address the constitutionality and interpretation of federal and state criminal statutes as well as general issues in the doctrine of federal and state criminal law.

The annual Uvaldo Herrera National Moot Court Competition brings together 32 teams of law students from the nation’s top law schools to argue a case of first impression that will effectively challenge students and allow them the opportunity to argue and brief either position creatively and persuasively.

NYU’s National Immigration Law Competition (ILC) focuses on cutting-edge issues in the field of immigration law and is judged by panels of distinguished NYU alumni and legal practitioners from throughout New York. The final round is judged by federal appellate and district court judges.

Hosted by Pace University School of Law, the Jeffrey G. Miller National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition (ELMCC) provides an intellectual workout for competitors through complex legal analysis of today’s thorny environmental issues. The legal problem involves timely issues of national importance to the practice of environmental law.

Hosted by the George Mason University Antonin Scalia School of Law, the Costello Competition is uniquely designed to take participants outside the typical realms of law school competitions. By revealing unknown facts and witnesses as the competition progresses, the Costello Competition simulates the evolving and unexpected nature of real-life criminal trials. This dynamic design provides competitors with a realistic experience as counsel in a criminal trial and an exciting take on trial advocacy.

Hosted by the International Institute of Space Law, the Manfred Lachs North American Moot Court Competition is held annually in Washington, D.C., and focuses on issues of Space Law. This competition is judged by experts in the field of space law from around the world.

Tulane’s Moot Court Board, with the help of the Sports Law Society and the Sports Lawyers Journal staff, hosts the annual Mardi Gras National Moot Court Competition, the only annual moot court competition in the country that focuses on contemporary legal problems confronting the sports industry.

Hosted by the WVU College of Law Moot Court Board, this competition focuses on legal issues surrounded the field of Energy and Sustainable Development. Learn more.

Hosted by the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, the National Ethics Trial Competition was established in 2006 to promote ethical and civility awareness through the mock trial competition format. This competition features both an ethical component in the issues to be tried and scoring based on the participants' observation of ethical and civility principles. The competition provides an opportunity for student trial lawyers to develop and display their knowledge and skills of professional responsibility in trial work. Trials are judged by distinguished members of the bench and bar.

Sponsored by the American Association for Justice, the Student Trial Advocacy Competition is an exceptional opportunity for law students to develop and practice their trial advocacy skills before distinguished members of the bar and bench.

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. Learn more.

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 attorneys who specialize in communications law.

Jessup Students moot a complex topic of international law. Members of the Nicholas R. Doman Society of International Law actively participate in this competition. Recent topics have included expropriation of foreign investment, international terrorism, and child abduction. Learn more.

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.The competition introduces law students to important issues arising in U.S. trademark and unfair competition law. Students develop their brief writing and oral advocacy skills in a mock courtroom experience. Learn more.

The Vis Arbitration Moot fosters the study of international commercial law and arbitration for resolution of international business disputes through its application to a concrete problem of a client and to train law leaders of tomorrow in methods of alternative dispute resolution. Members of the Nicholas R. Doman Society of International Law have historically participated in this moot.