Sponsor: ABA Forum on Communications Law
List Price: Free for Law Students
ABA Member Price: Free for Law Students
Sponsor Member Price: Free for Law StudentsMore Information
The annual First Amendment and Media Law Diversity Moot Court Competition, now in its 14th year, is designed primarily to introduce minority law students to the practice of media law and to lawyers active in the communications law bar. The competition offers cash awards for superior performance in appellate briefing and oral argument.
The moot court hypothetical case will involve timely issues of national significance in the areas effecting communications law. Due to COVID-19, this year’s competition will be held entirely online via video conference, and will feature judges that are partners at top law firms, in-house counsel at major media companies, and members of the judiciary.
Deadline: October 1, 2021
Law students interested in the Competition submit a written application, including a short essay explaining their interest in issues of media and communications law. There is no fee to apply. All applications are due and must be received no later than Midnight PDT on the deadline date. Students may apply individually or as part of two-person teams (each team member must complete an individual application).
Based on the essay submissions, competitors are selected to submit an appeal brief as part of a two-person team. Applicants who did not apply as part of a team will be paired with a partner.
Competition Rules & Details
Competing teams are assigned a hypothetical set of facts from which to prepare an appellate brief. Each team will be paired with a practicing media lawyer for career advice, mentoring and networking. Mentors also will review and comment on a draft of their assigned team’s appellate brief.
Briefs are judged blindly by a panel of experienced media-law practitioners. The team with the highest-scoring brief will be awarded “Best Brief” and each team member will receive $1,000.
Each team that timely submits a brief compliant with the rules will be invited to argue the case before panels of communications lawyers acting as judges. Each team will take part in two argument sessions before two different panels of judges: One round in which the team will argue “on brief” (the side for which the team’s brief was prepared) and a second round “off brief” (arguing the opposing side). Each competitor also will be given complimentary registration for the online sessions of the 2022 Forum on Communications Law 27th Annual Conference, which will include networking opportunities with media-law professionals.
The four individual competitors with the highest combination of scores from the brief and the two oral arguments, without regard to team assignment, will compete in the finals, arguing before a panel of prominent sitting judges. The most recent panel included two judges on the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and a judge on the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. For the final round of arguments, the finalists will be randomly assigned to represent appellant or appellee, resulting in new team assignments.
The team with the highest score for the final round will be the winner of the Competition. Each member of the winning team will receive $750. The finalist with the highest score for the final round of oral argument will be deemed “Best Oralist” and will receive $1,500.
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; National LGBT Bar’s Law Student Congress or a comparable minority law student organization at their school.
Competition Administration and Sponsors
The First Amendment and Media Law Diversity Moot Court Competition is administered by the American Bar Association Forum on Communications Law. The Competition Committee, made up of volunteer scholars and practitioners from across the field of media law, will oversee the administration of the Competition.