Vermont Law School offers numerous opportunities for students to compete in a broad range of legal skills through four cocurricular intramural moot court competitions: the Client Counseling competition, the Negotiation competition, the Moot Court Advisory Board competitions, and the Trial Advocacy Mock Trial competition. Each of these competitions allows the most successful participants to continue on to regional and national competitions.
Client Counseling Competition
The Client Counseling Competition, sponsored by the ABA Law Student Division, is open to members of the Dispute Resolution Society. To be effective interviewers, advisers and counselors, lawyers need to recognize and appreciate the client, not just as a legal problem, but as a person with a legal problem. The Client Counseling Competition challenges students to hone their interviewing skills by conducting an initial "client" interview with only a general idea of what area of law will be encountered. Two-person teams conduct the interview, gathering information, advising the client, planning for additional work, and closing an agreement to proceed. At least two judges evaluate each interview session. The first phase of the intramural competition selects the team that will represent VLS in the regional competition. The first and second place teams at the regional competition are invited to the national competition.
Securities Dispute Resolution Triathlon
The Securities Dispute Resolution Triathlon is sponsored by St. John's University School of Law. One three-person team is selected through the VLS intramural Negotiation Competition to compete against teams from 22 law schools. Teams compete in each part of the three-section competition: negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. Winners are selected from each section. The competition focuses on a securities case as it unfolds through negotiation, mediation, and arbitration sessions. In 2010, the VLS team won the negotiations section of the event-the first time VLS sent a team to compete and the only all-woman team at the competition.
The Negotiation Competition is an ABA Law Student Division sponsored event open to members of the Dispute Resolution Society (DRS). It provides students with an opportunity to learn and practice how to resolve conflict in a non-adversarial setting. They learn negotiation skills and strategies, and gather valuable experience in an essential area of legal practice. The first phase of the intramural competition selects the two teams that will represent VLS in the regional competition and one team that will compete in the Securities Triathlon at St. John's University. The first and second-place teams at the regional Negotiation Competition are invited to the national competition.
Debevoise/Costle/Jessup Moot Court Competition
The Moot Court Advisory Board is a student operated organization that yearly sends students to compete in national competitions. Members of the organization are selected from Appellate Advocacy courses, and then are required to a take Advanced Appellate Advocacy. During the Advanced Appellate Advocacy course, students will refine their writing and oral advocacy skills under the supervision of two professors and the organization’s student coaches. In addition, at the end of the course, students must argue a pending United States Supreme Court case both on-brief and off-brief in a tournament styled competition. The finalists of the competition will argue their last round before the Vermont Supreme Court. The top nine competitors will participate on their choice of one of the following national teams: the National Moot Court Competition sponsored by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the National Environmental Moot Court Competition held at Pace University in White Plains, New York, and the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition sponsored by the International Law Students Association. A total of 24 students will represent the Moot Court Advisory Board. Twelve students comprise the teams, and the remaining twelve students represent the board.
Trial Advocacy Competition
The Trial Advocacy Mock Trial Competition is an intramural mock trial in which students act as lawyers and witnesses, and local attorneys act as judges. This competition is designed to expand opportunities for students interested in gaining litigating experience in law school. The intramural tournament exposes students to the trial process and allows them to gain valuable insight from experienced trial attorneys. The students argue once as prosecution and once as defense over the course of three nights. Local attorneys serve as trial judges, issuing rulings on motions, objections, and evidentiary questions. Normally, two judges sit on the bench, with one judge ruling during the prosecution's case-in-chief and the other judge ruling during the defense's case-in-chief. The 16 individuals with the highest score earn the right to compete for a spot on the National Mock Trial Team.