The Supreme Court Day Competition provides an excellent opportunity for second- and third-year law students to hone their brief writing and oral advocacy skills.
The competition also meets the requirements for the Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution Certificate and allows participants to analyze developing Iowa law and argue in front of the Iowa Supreme Court.
Although Adjunct Professor Philip De Koster is the advisor for this course, students interact with student committee members from the Moot Court Board for the administration of this competition. The Moot Court Board distributes the problem, answers questions, and organizes the course events.
Students can take the course for graded credit or no credit, and participation fulfills one of the Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution Certificate requirements.
This course has no classes or tests, but rather a legal problem for the student to independently research, analyze, and brief.
In addition to the honor and experience of making oral arguments to the Iowa Supreme Court, cash prizes are awarded to the winner of the argument, the author of the best brief, and the three runners-up. Also, each of the four finalists receive a grade bump on their brief.
Unlike most skills teams, there is no selection process to participate in the Supreme Court Day Competition, and as such, students who would otherwise be unable to participate on a skills team are still eligible to compete.
The brief, usually due in February, follows all the formatting rules and restrictions as a brief submitted to the Iowa Supreme Court. Only the brief itself is graded, so participants who do not make the final round of oral arguments are at no disadvantage to students with more oral argument experience or skill.
Each participant prepares for two rounds of oral arguments: one in support of his or her brief, and one in opposition.
The top four participants from the oral argument rounds are selected to present their oral arguments to the Iowa Supreme Court on Supreme Court Day in late March/early April.