First Year Competition

The George Mason University School of Law Moot Court Board is pleased to host:

First Year Competition Description:

Every potential MCB Member must compete in the First Year Competition.

The First Year Competition (FYC) is an oral advocacy competition in which all students enrolled in LRWA II – Trial Level Writing must participate. The problem argued is the same problem for which students prepare memoranda in support or in opposition for class. The judges for the competition, as with all three of the MCB competitions, are local practitioners and judges, including many GMUSL and MCB alumni.

Unlike traditional Moot Court competitions, students compete alone rather than in teams and the problem is based on a trial-level motion rather than an appeal of a trial court decision. Students also argue only a single side of the problem, whereas Moot Court competitions typically require arguments both on- and off-brief.

The FYC runs over two Saturdays and a Friday. On the first Saturday, usually in late March, every 1L argues once. The Competition Committee works with the LRWA faculty to identify all LRWA students and schedule the arguments.

At the conclusion of the preliminary round, the Scoring Committee compiles the scores, normalizes to account for particularly “extraordinary” judges, and announces advancing competitors and alternates. (Not all competitors who advance choose to continue with the competition.) Although the precise number of advancers is within the discretion of the Chief Justice and the Competition Co-Chairs, in past years there have been 48 advancing competitors, 24 for each side.

On the second Saturday, the advancing competitors argue once more in the morning, in matchings assigned by the Competition Committee. This often requires two shifts, depending on the number of rooms and judges available. At the conclusion, the Scoring Committee normalizes this round’s scores and announces 16 competitors, 8 for each side, to compete in the octofinals. In the afternoon, competitors argue in octofinals and the top 8 competitors then compete in the quarterfinals. Scores for these rounds are not normalized.

The competitors in the semifinals, argued at the end of the second Saturday, argue before a single panel of distinguished judges, who select a finalist plaintiff and finalist defendant.

The finalists argue before a panel of distinguished judges on a subsequent Friday afternoon. In the past, this round of the competition has been held at the Federal district courthouse in Alexandria. All LRWA II students are required to attend this argument or view of video of it later that evening.