How the Hardt Cup Works


"Looking to try out for the Moot Court Board while getting some great oral argument experience? Sign up here for Rounds Two and Three of the Hardt Cup. Students in LARW Sections 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 (Dimond, Reeves, Mock, Ragazzo, Rich) must sign up by 10 pm on Friday, March 28. Students in LARW Sections 3, 7, and 8 (Mullem, Powell, Baker) must sign up by 10pm on Saturday, March 29. If you have any questions, please contact the Hardt Cup Coordinators at"

ROUND ONE: Mandatory for all 1L students
During the first round, competitors will argue the case on which their LARW course appellate briefs are based.  Each competitor will argue twice, once in favor of the brief she wrote ("on-brief") and once in favor of the opposing party ("off-brief").  Competitors will receive copies of opposing briefs prior to the competition to aid in preparing their off-brief argument.  Each competitor's oral arguments will be assessed according to the Moot Court Board's oral argument scoring criteria.  Competitors will argue against other members of their LARW section and will argue both on-brief and off-brief on the same night or day.

Once a student registers to compete in the optional rounds, he or she is committed to argue in Round Two and, if invited, in Round Three as well.  For each competitor to argue and be scored, it is essential that his or her competitor participate as well.  Other students are counting on each and every competitor, and the Board cannot accommodate registered participants who wish to withdraw before competing in Rounds Two and Three.

Rounds Two and Three involve entirely new facts, issues, and cases wholly unrelated to the subject matter of any of the LARW sections’ appellate brief material.  However, no writing is involved.  Rather, before each round, competitors will be provided with a “problem packet” containing a brief statement of the case to be argued and four to six case opinions covering the relevant law.  As in Round One, competitors will argue twice in each round, once for the appellant/petitioner and once for the appellee/respondent.

For each round, problem packets will be made available to competitors via email 48 hours before they are scheduled to argue the case.  The problems are closed research; students are not permitted to do any outside research beyond what is contained within the problem packet.  As a result, competitors should not need and are discouraged from using the entire 48-hour period to prepare.  In addition, competitors may not discuss the Hardt Cup problems with anyone (even non-competitors).

Competitors' oral arguments will be scored using the same scoring criteria as in Round One.  After Round Two, each competitor’s highest score and lowest score will be dropped, and the rest of the scores will be averaged.  The top 64 students who opt in to Round Two will be invited to compete in Round Three.

Following the completion of Round Three, each competitor’s highest score and two lowest scores will be dropped, and the rest of the scores will be averaged.  The top 10% of the 1L class (a minimum of 20 people) will be invited to join the Moot Court Board.  In the event of a tie for the last qualifying score, each competitor sharing that score will be selected for Board membership.  Additionally, the top sixteen competitors will be invited to compete in the final rounds, consisting of the octofinal, quarterfinal, and semifinal rounds and then the final argument between the top two competitors for the Hardt Cup trophy.

As an introduction to the mechanics of oral argument, we invite you to watch previous Hardt Cup Final arguments as well as examples of actual appellate arguments. 

2011 Hardt Cup Final (RealPlayer required: download the driver here.)
2010 Hardt Cup Final (RealPlayer)
2009 Hardt Cup Final (RealPlayer)
2008 Hardt Cup Final (RealPlayer)
2007 Hardt Cup Final (RealPlayer)
2006 Hardt Cup Final (RealPlayer)