Participants compete for the chance to argue in front of the Iowa Supreme Court and serves as credit for those seeking the Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution Certificate.
Appellate advocacy is taught by two instructors with deep levels of experience in appellate advocacy. The Honorable Mark Bennett brings a wealth of experience from his 24 years on the federal bench, including work on appellate panels by designation. Louis Sloven is an Assistant Attorney General in the state of Iowa who works on criminal appeals and regularly argues before the Iowa Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.
The course is presented with a new problem each year, based on current issues before the Iowa Court of Appeals. The students first create a written appellate brief. After the briefing stage is complete, each student has a chance to practice oral advocacy before the official competition begins, in order to hone their arguments and style. Students then engage in the elimination rounds to select the final four students who can present their oral arguments to the Iowa Supreme Court on Supreme Court Day.
Students who take the course should expect to learn how to write a persuasive appellate brief, how to deliver a persuasive oral argument, and practice both for the Supreme Court Day Competition.
All students in Appellate Advocacy have the chance to compete for the final four spots as finalists for the Supreme Court Day Competition. Once the elimination round panel judges choose the final four students, those students have a final round of arguments before the Iowa Supreme Court. The Court will convene afterward to select the winner of the competition, who will be presented with their award at the Drake Law School Annual Supreme Court Day Celebration Banquet. The Justices also honor the student with the best brief.