The Law Student Division is currently seeking judges for its four competitions, including for the National Appellate Advocacy Competition. The regional rounds will be held in Boston, Brooklyn, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., so there might be a regional not far from where you are. You can register to be a judge here.
If you’re wondering what the benefits are of robing up and serving as a judge, veteran volunteer John B. Cartafalsa Jr. – managing attorney at Cartafalsa, Slattery, Turpin & Lenoff and chair-elect of the Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section – sent us this testimonial about the experience.
Dear Fellow Member of the Bar,
I write today to encourage your participation as a judge in the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition.
For many years, I, and several of the attorneys in my firm, have participated as judges in the competition. It has become a tradition in our office. We jointly review the problem and the bench briefs. Through the courtesy of the members of the ABA staff, we sit en banc. It is not often that attorneys have the opportunity to sit, albeit in character, as justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. After the arguments, we adjourn to a local restaurant for dinner. It has been our experience that our participation in this event is extraordinarily enjoyable and, most importantly, professionally rewarding.
The problems are very interesting, involve topics that are currently being discussed on a national level, and are thought provoking. They are always complex federal litigation issues, which may not directly affect our particular sphere of practice, but still present interesting learning and analytical exercises. We have all argued appeals at various levels. Our participation in this program has provided an opportunity to refine, and act as a refresher, with regard to any level of appellate work we may need to undertake.
Participation in the National Appellate Advocacy Competition gives us each the ability to give back to the legal profession. It is incumbent upon every member of the bar to assure the professionalism and quality of those who come to the bar after us. As judges in this competition, we are in a position to analyze these young advocates in ways they may not see within their academic setting. We can assist them in improving their skills as advocates. Providing law students with feedback on their demeanor and presentations is invaluable advice for their studies and thence their careers.
This type of volunteerism is essential to assuring the quality of the legal professionals of the future. Without the participation of experienced members of the bar, these laws students, young advocates about to embark upon their professional careers, might never learn the fine distinction between being a good advocate and a great one. Judging this competition is an excellent opportunity to pass down our experience to those who will follow us into the courtrooms of the nation.
I encourage each of you to give of your time and experience to provide these law students with an educational and fulfilling experience in their participation in this competition.
John B. Cartafalsa, Jr.
Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section
American Bar Association