At New York Law School (NYLS), the Moot Court Association (MCA) offers law students far-ranging opportunities to build their advocacy skills and to sharpen their legal knowledge in a variety of legal fields—from criminal procedure to tax, family law, constitutional law, and entertainment law—as they compete in a variety of competitions across the country.
Learn more about the experiences MCA provides as two team members share their recent achievements at the National Moot Court Competition in Law and Religion.
By Alexandra Adams ’23 and Max Skidelsky ’23
The NYLS MCA is a highly regarded student-run organization that provides opportunities for members to build their appellate advocacy skills through national competitions and a mentoring program.
As members of the MCA, we recently competed in the National Moot Court Competition in Law and Religion at Touro Law Center. We spent a month writing a 45-page brief with the guidance of our MCA member coach, Daniel Sullivan ’24, on issues related to free exercise and free speech.
After completing the brief, we spent more than two weeks practicing our arguments and receiving feedback from faculty members and alumni. We were grateful to prepare under the exceptional guidance of NYLS alum and MCA senior fellow R. Scott DeLuca ’98.
On the first day of the competition, we competed in two preliminary rounds and one quarterfinal round. We felt confident in our performance and had the privilege of arguing in front of attorneys, alumni, and experts in constitutional law. After making it through the preliminary and quarterfinal rounds, we were notified that we had advanced to the semifinals and began strategizing for the next day of competition. Working with our coach, we carefully analyzed our previous arguments and adjusted them based on what had proven effective. Additionally, we incorporated the valuable feedback provided by the judges after each round, and we brainstormed innovative strategies to tackle some of the toughest questions we encountered during the preliminary and quarterfinal rounds. We also dedicated time to studying the brief of the team we were scheduled to compete against in the morning.
After an intense semifinal round the next morning, the Touro Moot Court Honors Board announced that we had advanced to the final round, which was held at the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York in front of a panel of three judges, including active Second Circuit Judge Richard J. Sullivan. Being behind the podium at the Eastern District of New York was exhilarating—and answering questions from an active Second Circuit Judge was truly an out-of-body experience. Once our arguments were over, we both felt that we had just experienced something exceptional and were honored to have had the opportunity.
After a lively final round, we were thrilled to receive second place. This achievement marks the perfect way to close out our time with the MCA after four semesters of competing. We are grateful to the NYLS community, particularly Professor Ann Schofield Baker ’97 and R. Scott DeLuca ’98, for their immense support throughout the competition.