General Information

An Introduction to the Moot Court Board

Duke's Moot Court Board is comprised of students who practice the highest level of oral advocacy in the school. Entry onto the Board is available solely through competitive tournaments in either the first year (Hardt Cup competition), the second and third years (Dean's Cup competition), or through tryouts for the Jessup competition. Approximately 85% of the Board's membership is comprised of students who earned membership positions via the Hardt Cup competition.

What the Moot Court Board does:

The Moot Court Board allows students at Duke to participate in Board activities and Moot Court competitions. Moot Court is appellate advocacy, where students act as if they are arguing a case on appeal to the Supreme Court, a circuit court, or a state supreme court.

The entirely student run Moot Court Board is unique among law school organizations because of its eclectic activities. Within the law school the Board assists the legal research and writing instructors in teaching appellate advocacy and organizes and runs the Hardt Cup and Dean's Cup competitions.

Outside the law school the Board sends teams to interscholastic moot court competitions covering a variety of topics including intellectual property, products liability, securities, labor, and constitutional law.

Why you should participate:

Participating in Moot Court gives members a chance to hone their speaking, advocacy, and critical thinking skills--all of which serve one in the real world. Members are also afforded the opportunity on several occasions to meet judges and visit cutting edge problems in a variety of areas of the law. Most importantly, Board members can compete in interscholastic tournaments which offer competitors the opportunity to build expertise in a field, test themselves against the skills of students at other schools, and win accolades.

Who should participate:

EVERYONE! Competing in the Hardt Cup or Dean's Cup not only helps to build advocacy skills, but also helps to sharpen your public speaking and legal analysis skills. Participation in Moot Court competitions is a benefit to every law student, regardless of what type of law you intend to practice. The skills are not only beneficial for future trial attorneys. The ability to speak persuasively and think on your feet is invaluable in all types of legal careers.

Requirements of membership:

The top finishers in the Hardt Cup, Dean's Cup, and Jessup tryouts are extended invitations to join the Moot Court Board. Each Board member is required to fulfill at least one participation credit prior to graduation. This requirement can be fulfilled in a number of ways including competing in one interscholastic competition or holding an Executive Board position. In addition, all Board members are required to help judge the intramural competitions sponsored by the Board.

The Poyner Moot Courtroom

Many of the Moot Court Board's activities and events are conducted in the Law School's James M. Poyner Moot Courtroom.

James M. Poyner Moot Courtroom

The Poyner Moot Courtroom was completely redesigned and reappointed over the summer of 2000 as part of the Law School's "Millennium Renovation." With its handsome, wood paneling and intelligent lighting, the courtroom is now intimate and elegant. A bevy of integrated technology makes possible videoconferencing and webcasting, as well as remote monitoring of jury deliberations for mock trial purposes.

James M. Poyner Moot Courtroom view 2

In recent years the courtroom has served as the site for sessions of the North Carolina Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, providing members of the law school community with the opportunity to observe on campus oral advocacy at its highest level.

The preceding comments are, in part, drawn from Professors Richard Danner and Thomas Metzloff's article, Rethinking the Classroom: Duke Law School's Millennium Renovation, DUKE LAW MAGAZINE, pp. 14 - 17 (Spring 2001).