The Animal Law Moot Court is part of the National Animal Law Competitions. The purpose is to provide law students an opportunity to develop an expertise in animal law and to hone their persuasive abilities as well as their written and oral advocacy techniques in an appellate setting. Previous experience in animal law is not required. The broad subject area of animal law has offered the opportunity for previous teams to consider problems with a focus on administrative law, environmental law, and international law.
The National Animal Law Competitions include a separate closing arguments competition. UNM has fielded a team that competed in both the oral argument and the closing argument competitions in the same year.
Each law school is able to field two teams for the competition. Depending on the level of student interest, an internal competition for selection of the teams may be held.
Dates and Timeline
Mid- to late-September – Solicitation of names of interested students by email from the coach. Interested students will be contacted about an internal competition/team selection process which must be completed prior to the opening of registration. The competition is limited to the first 20 teams to register and fills up quickly so team selection deadlines are critical to ensuring that UNM is awarded slots for the competition.
November – Problem is released.
November-January – Teams must complete briefs for submission.
February – Oral arguments competition at Harvard (This was in early February in 2010 but will be late February in 2011.)
What to Expect
Up to two teams of two people each will be selected to represent UNM at the competition. Each team will prepare a brief based on the competition problem. The brief must be researched, drafted, finalized, properly formatted, printed and submitted by the team without outside guidance. Briefs must be completed by the deadline, which has been early January, meaning that winter break may be needed for work on the brief. Since the brief is a weighted factor in determining if teams move to the semi-finals, the brief is a critical part of the competition.
After submission of the brief, the coach will review the briefs drafted and provide feedback. As soon as the briefs for the competition teams are made available, each UNM team will be required to read all of the briefs submitted by the other teams and to develop counterarguments, outline possible new arguments to include in oral arguments, and critique the arguments on both sides of the issue. Additional research may be required to hone the arguments.
In the first week of classes, the team(s) will begin practice rounds for oral arguments. Practice rounds will be held 4 times per week, times and days dependent on team member schedules. Initial weeks will be practice rounds between the two teams with team members and coach serving as judges. This practice helps to develop arguments and to increase confidence in oral advocacy skills. The final two weeks of practice rounds will be held before panels of lawyers, judges, law professors, and upper level law students who are knowledgeable about the oral advocacy and/or the subject matter at issue. For team members, these final practice rounds focus on knowledge of the relevant law, ability to field questions from a range of judges, and improvement of presentation skills.