A Message from Kellie Casey Monk, Director of Advocacy
So you're intrigued by moot court and mock trial but aren't sure if the courtroom is for you? Think again. The advocacy program is not just for litigators. Each and every aspect of the law requires attorneys to communicate the written and spoken word effectively and to persuade various audiences, be they juries, judges, clients, corporate boards, governing committees, or peers.
These universal skills are developed in the University of Georgia's outstanding advocacy program. Moot court and mock trial students learn to analyze complex legal problems, formulate sound resolutions, and communicate on their feet. They invest a substantial amount of time and energy into the program but, as I can tell you from first-hand experience, the rewards far outweigh the costs: their talents, confidence and contacts grow exponentially. If you have any competitive history — athletics, debate, or just your second nature — you will feel at home competing against the nation's other law schools. Even if you do not have any particular competition history (like me when I was a law student here in 1987-1990), you will soon crave the adrenaline-flowing atmosphere!
The advocacy program encompasses the School of Law's moot court and mock trial programs, both of which hold established reputations for excellence. Each year the University of Georgia sends teams comprised of second- and third-year students to prestigious regional, national and international competitions. In the moot court setting, students write appellate briefs and make appellate arguments in fictitious cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. The mock trial program gives students the opportunity to conduct a trial — again, hypothetical — as courtroom attorneys in the presence of a judge and jury.
All first-year students are exposed to the moot court program during their research and writing class. The final writing assignment for the course is an appellate brief, and each student is required to argue both sides of the brief before a panel of second- and third-year moot court students. Thereafter, up to 64 1Ls sign up to compete in the school's Russell Competition. Its preliminary rounds are judged by students, faculty and practicing attorneys, with the final round heard by distinguished appellate judges from the state and region. The final eight students (quarterfinalists) are invited to join the moot court program and exempt the regular tryouts at the beginning of their second year.
Similarly, first-year students also have the opportunity to participate in the J. Ralph Beaird Closing Argument Competition at the start of their second semester. This competition is completely voluntary and gives 1Ls the rare opportunity to perform a 10-minute closing argument. Preliminary rounds are determined by a jury of second- and third-year students, faculty and alumni, and the final round often features a panel of prestigious state and federal judges. The top competitors are invited to join the mock trial board.
The University of Georgia's moot court and mock trial teams currently participate in four national tournaments in addition to several intrastate and regional competitions. Teams are always comprised of second- and third-year students. Individual auditions are held at the beginning of each semester, and interested 2Ls and 3Ls must compete in the annual J. Melvin England Mock Trial Competition held each year in the fall.
I am pleased that you are considering the University of Georgia's advocacy program. As director, I take great personal pride in working with each and every team, as well as the many alumni and faculty members who enthusiastically support our program with their time, energy and expertise. I encourage you to talk to alumni who have participated in either moot court or mock trial. I am confident that they will also tell you that participating in the law school's advocacy program was the most exciting and rewarding part of their law school experience.
Thank you for your interest.
Kellie Casey Monk
Director of the Advocacy Program