University of Pittsburgh

Interscholastic Competitions

The competitions listed here are the ones the law school has been entering regularly.


Allegheny Academy of Trial Lawyers Mock Trial Competition

Students can qualify to represent Pitt Law at this competition either by being among the top two finishers in the Murray S. Love Trial Moot Court Competition as a second-year student, or through merit-based selection in the school’s Mock Trial Program.

Allegheny Academy of Trial Lawyers Mock Trial Competition >


AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition

Students can qualify to represent Pitt Law at this competition either by being among the top two finishers in the Murray S. Love Trial Moot Court Competition as a second-year student, or through merit-based selection in the school’s Mock Trial Program.

AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition >


Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial Competition

Students can qualify to represent Pitt Law at this competition either by being among the top two finishers in the Murray S. Love Trial Moot Court Competition as a second-year student, or through merit-based selection in the school’s Mock Trial Program.

Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial Competition >


National Moot Court Competition (appellate)

Students can qualify to represent Pitt Law at this competition by being among the top two second-year student finishers in the law school’s intramural Appellate Competition the previous year. Local practitioners selected by Pitt Law serve as coaches for this team. For more information, contact Professor Bratman.

National Moot Court Competition (appellate) >


National Energy Moot Court Competition (appellate)

Students can qualify to represent Pitt Law at this competition in Morgantown, West Virginia through tryouts held during the fall semester. The problem is released in early January, the brief is due in mid February, and the oral phase of the competition is in mid March. Local practitioners selected by Pitt Law serve as coaches for the team. For more information, contact Professor Bratman. National Energy Moot Court Competition


Intellectual Property Law

Pitt Law competes annually in two interscholastic intellectual property-related moot court competitions: the Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Moot Court Competition, sponsored by the American Intellectual Property Law Association, and the Cardozo/BMI Entertainment and Communications Law Moot Court Competition, which takes place at Cardozo Law School in New York City.

Teams for both competitions are selected in the Fall in internal tryouts and are advised throughout the academic year by full-time Pitt Law faculty and experienced practitioners from the Pittsburgh intellectual property bar. Completion of the full competition entitles each team member to academic credit.

For more information about Pitt Law's participation in these IP moots, visit the moot courts page of the Intellectual Property Certificate Program.


National Health Law Moot Court Competition (appellate)

The National Health Law Moot Court Competition is held on the first Friday of November each year at Southern Illinois University School of Law in Carbondale, IL. Pitt Law conducts tryouts in the preceding Spring Semester. The tryouts consist of interested students presenting a short argument on a limited subject, usually the prior year's problem. The judges are the two coaches, Professors Stella Smetanka and Martha Mannix, and the members of the previous year's team(s). The competing students are asked questions during their argument by the judges. Students submit a writing sample, and the judges confer with the students' legal writing professors to determine writing ability, reliability, and organizational skills. Students receive an email by mid-February announcing the tryouts and are asked to email our clinic administrator with their interest. They are given a time slot in which to appear and are sent the portion of the problem to prepare for the oral argument.

The competition problem is made available in early August. Competition briefs are submitted at the end of September, so interested students should be prepared to devote a large amount of time in September to working on their brief. The team conducts practice rounds during October with practicing lawyers, professors and the coaches judging them. At the competition, the brief score is 40% of the oral argument score. The competition is co-sponsored by Southern Illinois University School of Law and the American College of Legal Medicine.

National Health Law Moot Court Competition >


National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition (on hiatus in 2014-2015)

This competition is distinctive in that three adverse teams argue the issues, reflecting the fact that environmental litigation frequently involves multiple parties - the government, a public interest group and a member of the regulated industry. Teams write and file their briefs for their respective parties in early December and come to the Pace campus in February for the oral phase of the Competition.

Selection process: by application and interview.

Approximate dates:

  • Selection process in mid-September
  • Problem distributed in early October
  • Brief due right before Thanksgiving break
  • Competition held in late February

National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition >


International Law

For more information about Pitt Law's participation in any of these international moot court competitions, visit the moots page of the Center for International Legal Education.

Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot

Professors Ron Brand and Harry Flechtner pick and coach the school's team for the Willem Vis International Arbitration Moot. The competition begins at thebeginning of October, when the moot problem is released, and it culminates --after the team has submitted memos for each side --in the spring, during the week before Easter, when the oral arguments are held in Vienna. The school generally has an informational meeting for the Vis and the other international moot courts (Jessup and Niagara) in the Spring (after that year's Vis competition is finished). The school picks the Vis team by means of an internal selection moot during September -- candidates for the team mustsubmit a shortmemo and do a brief oral argument on a selection round problem that focuses on the same subject areas (the U.N. Sales Convention and international commercial arbitration rules) as the main competition. The selection competition kicks off at an organization meeting in late August or early September at which the selection problem is distributed and guides for doing the necessary research are given. The team is selected by the time the problem is released at the beginning of October.

Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot >

Niagara International Moot Court Competition

The Niagara competition is sponsored each year by the U.S.-Canada Law Institute at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and Western Ontario University Faculty of Law. It originated more than 40 years ago in recognition of the common traditions and social and economic ties that exist between Canadians and Americans living in the Great Lakes Region. The originators sought to bring together law students from both sides of the border in a moot court competition involving an international law problem affecting both Canada and the United States.

Each year's case is argued as if before the International Court of Justice, with the parties being the U.S. and Canada. The problem usually involves an actual current dispute between these two countries, and allows students not only the opportunity to learn more about international law, but also to learn about US-Canada relations. Teams represent schools from the U.S. and Canada.

Pitt has a strong history in this competition. Pitt Law won the competition the first year it participated (1986). A Pitt law student won top honors for oral arguments in the Niagara competition in 1995, and the fourth place Pitt Law team garnered the highest combined score on its memorials. In the 1996 Niagara competition, Pitt Law won the award for Best Respondent’s Memorial. In 2004, Pitt Law won the Best Applicant Memorial Award. In 2005, the Pitt Law team was the runner up for the Best Respondent’s Memorial. In 2009, the Pitt Law team won Best Applicant Memorial. The University of Pittsburgh hosted the Niagara competition in 2002.

Pitt Law generally has an informational session for all international moots in the spring. The application process occurs in early September, with students trying out jointly for the Niagara and Jessup competitions through submission of a memo and mock oral argument. The team is selected by the end of September in order to begin preparing for the competition. For more information, contact Wes Rist, Assistant Director of the Center for International Legal Education.

Niagara International Moot Court Competition >

Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition

The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is an advocacy contest in which teams of students write briefs and present oral arguments before a simulated International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations. The competition starts in September with the release of a fact pattern describing a fictional legal dispute between two countries. The students spend much of the school year researching, composing, and developing arguments based upon this fact pattern. A written memorial is submitted for each side, and arguments within “superregions” of the United States take place at the end of February. The competition culminates in the International Rounds held in Washington, DC each year with finals held before a panel including some of the most prestigious experts on international law in the world.

The Jessup Competition hones the legal skills of participants, introduces them to the world community of legal professionals, and promotes the belief that differences can be overcome and disputes resolved peacefully through the rule of law. The mission of the Jessup is to break down international barriers and forge friendships, personal and professional, around the globe. In addition, it is an excellent introduction into the substance of public international law in a manner that can scarcely be replicated in a course at an American law school.

The Jessup was created at Harvard University almost a half century ago. In its first iteration, the competition pitted Harvard against Columbia University, two American law schools competing to identify the most accomplished student advocates in international law. Fifty years later, the Jessup is the largest moot court competition in the world, involving thousands of students every year from over 500 law schools in more than 80 countries.

Pitt Law generally has an informational session for all international moots in the spring. The application process occurs in early September, with students trying out jointly for the Niagara and Jessup competitions through submission of a memo and mock oral argument. The team is selected by the end of September in order to begin preparing for the competition. For more information, contact Wes Rist, Assistant Director of the Center for International Legal Education.

Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition >


ABA Client Counseling Competition

Students can qualify to represent Pitt Law on this team by serving on the winning team in the school’s intramural Client Counseling Competition.

ABA Client Counseling Competition >


Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition (BLSA)

Students can qualify to represent Pitt Law at this competition through a tryout process run by the Black Law Students Association.

Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition (BLSA) >

Revised 09/28/2011 | Copyright 2011 | Site by UMC