Participation in moot court and mock trial competition provides our students a unique opportunity to develop skills in persuasive writing, research, and oral advocacy. As such, it is highly valued by law firms and other organizations that employ attorneys. UT Law’s Moot Court Board is comprised of third-year students who have demonstrated excellence in trial and appellate advocacy. The board sponsors three annual intramural competitions: the Ray H. Jenkins Trial Competition and the Advocates’ Prize Moot Court Competition and the First-Year Advocacy Competition. The board coordinates more than twenty traveling teams involving approximately seventy-five students and ranges “Docket Days” at the college so the entire student body can observe the courts in action.
Ray H. Jenkins Trial Competition
The Ray H. Jenkins Trial Competition honors the memory of a prestigious member of the Knoxville bar and is supported by the law firm of Jenkins and Jenkins. The competition consists of two rounds. In each round, a student must deliver an opening statement and conduct the cross-examination of a witness. Students are provided with a trial record one week before the first round and are assigned to either the prosecution or the defense and assigned the witness they will cross-examine. Typically, students are judged based on their familiarity with the content and purpose of an opening statement and cross-examination and their ability to advocate with confidence and conviction.
Advocates’ Prize Moot Court Competition
The Advocates’ Prize Moot Court Competition allows students to present an oral argument before a panel of professional judges. Students are judged on the quality of their oral argument for the competition. Judges prepare for the competition by reviewing a bench brief so that they are familiar with the facts and case law and can ask probing questions pertaining to the issues raised.
Judges score each competitor based on a variety of factors, including content and persuasiveness of argument, knowledge and use of legal authority, and poise and effectiveness in responding to questions from the bench.