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Deadline: The Tenth Annual First Amendment and Media Law Diversity Moot Court Competition

Format: Application

Dates: 09/11/2017

Sponsor: ABA Forum on Communications Law

List Price: FREE

ABA Member Price: FREE

Sponsor Member Price: FREE

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This annual First Amendment and Media Law Diversity Moot Court, now in its tenth year, is designed to introduce minority law students to the practice of media law and to many of the lawyers who are active in the media law bar.


The moot court Hypothetical Case involves timely issues of national significance in the field of media law. The Hypothetical Case for the 2016-17 Competition focused on whether an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act allows for a governmental agency in possession of a report detailing the findings of an investigation into instances of high lead levels in residents of a community with a contaminated water supply to withhold the report when the report was prepared by a third-party who provided the report to the agency under a confidentiality agreement. Past competitions have posed issues relating to: whether a statute making it illegal to eavesdrop is unconstitutionally overbroad when applied to a citizen’s surreptitious recording of a police officer conducting a traffic stop; whether journalists have a privilege under the First Amendment or federal common law not to reveal sources in response to a government subpoena; and whether or not the public and the press have a qualified First Amendment right of access to attend an internal employee disciplinary proceeding at a public university.


Students from any ABA-accredited law school are encouraged to apply to participate in the competition. Students must be members of a chapter of the National Black Law Students Association; the National Latino/a Law Student Association; the National Asian Pacific American Law Student Association; the National Native American Law Students Association; or a comparable minority law student organization at their school.

To apply, each student must submit a resume; a short (pre-existing) writing sample; and a response to a short essay hypothetical on a media-related topic. A short registration form also must be completed; one for each team or individual student applying. There is no fee to apply. The Competition Committee will partner students who enter individually and are selected to advance to the quarter-final round.

The Competition Committee will select up to twelve (12) teams to advance to participate in the quarter-final round of the Competition.

The quarter-final round of competition requires each team to submit an appeal brief of up to 30 pages, based on the Moot Court Hypothetical. The Moot Court Hypothetical will be announced Friday, September 22, 2017.

The submitted briefs are reviewed and judged by practicing media law attorneys. The four teams with the highest-scoring briefs will participate in semi-final arguments during the Annual Conference on Thursday, March 1, 2018.

The two finalist teams will present their oral arguments on the first day of the Annual Conference, Friday, March 2, 2018, before prominent sitting judges.