College to host annual Advocate’s Prize competition

The University of Tennessee College of Law will host virtually the annual Advocate’s Prize competition during the week of Oct. 19.

The event offers second- and third-year law students the opportunity to present oral arguments in front of lawyers from across the state of Tennessee and beyond. Teams that advance in the competition will compete in the final round in front of five judges from the U.S. Second, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Circuit Courts of Appeals.

The competition requires students to prepare an argument for their mock case to present to the United States Supreme Court about issues on which lower courts were divided. This year’s competitors will examine Second Amendment issues that challenge the constitutionality of barring individuals from bearing arms.

In addition to delivering oral arguments, each team will draft an appellate brief based on the rules of the U.S. Supreme Court. Briefs will be graded in advance of the oral argument rounds by 13 law professors and will help determine which teams advance to the final round. 

This year’s virtual competition is enabling many past Advocate’s Prize competitors and moot court members to occupy the 72 seats designated for the judges during the 14 preliminary rounds taking place on Oct. 19 and 20.

Final round judges include Judge Duane Benton, U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals; Judge Bernice B. Donald, U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals; Judge Dennis Jacobs, former chief judge, U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals; Judge Carl E. Stewart, U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals; and Judge Jane Stranch, U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Students on the Advocate’s Prize planning committee, advised by Professor Penny White, include Cole Hodge, Joshua Anderson, Emily Carnder, Natalie Loless, Alissa Netto and Jamie Thompson.

In addition to vying for the opportunity to argue in the final round, competitors will be considered for best brief and best advocate awards. 

 Preliminary rounds take place on Oct. 19 and Oct. 20 at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., while the final round is scheduled for Oct. 22 at 4 p.m.