General Information

The Duke Law Moot Court Board is comprised of students who practice the highest level of oral advocacy in the school. Invitations to join the Board are extended based solely on student performance in competitive the Hardt Cup, the Dean's Cup, and the Jessup Cup. Most members earn membership their performance in the Hardt Cup at the end of the first year of law school.  Upper level students may earn membership through their performance in the Dean's Cup or the Jessup Cup.

The Benefits of Moot Court Board Membership

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 Moot Court Board is entirely student run and 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, the Dean's Cup, and the Jessup Cup.  In addition, the Board sends teams to interscholastic moot court competitions covering diverse topics such as intellectual property, products liability, securities, labor, and constitutional law.

Participating in Moot Court Board gives members a chance to hone their speaking, advocacy, and critical thinking skills. 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.

The Benefits of Participating in Moot Court Competitions

Participation in moot court competitions such as the Hardt Cup, the Dean's Cup, and the Jessup Cup can benefit every Duke Law student. Competing in moot court competitions provides an opportunity for students to build advocacy skills, sharpen public speaking skills, and engage in legal analysis in a variety of areas of law. 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

Top competitors in the Hardt Cup, Dean's Cup, and Jessup Cup 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. All Board members also 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.

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.

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).