Competitions

Co-curricular competitions afford you opportunities to further sharpen your legal practice skills through participation in a variety of intramural, regional and national student competitions.

Each year, many of our students compete internally in the Prize Moot Court Competition and the 2L Mock Trial Competition. If you excel in these competitions as well as in the various aspects of the skills training curriculum, you have the opportunity to compete in several external competitions, involving trial advocacy, client counseling, mediation and negotiation.

2L Lenny B. Mandell Moot Court Competition

Each year, approximately half of the second year class participates in the College of Law’s Lenny B. Mandell Moot Court Competition. Teams of two students research and write an appellate brief and participate in several rounds of oral arguments. The final argument is an annual highlight of the spring semester at the College of Law. Distinguished jurists and members of the legal community sit on the panel of judges for the final argument.

Membership in the Moot Court Society is automatically conferred upon students who compete in the Lenny B. Mandell Moot Court Competition. Members may also participate in regional and national external competitions.

External Appellate Advocacy Competitions

Students who have excelled in the Prize Moot Court Competition compete in several external appellate advocacy competitions during their third year. In recent years, teams from the College of Law have participated in the following competitions.

1L Closing Argument Competition

1L Closing Argument Competition provides first-year students an opportunity to apply the facts of a case to jury instructions and deliver a closing argument to a jury. It is intended as the first step for students who want to learn trial skills. Many will further develop their skills in the 2L Mock Trial Competition and later compete in external trial competitions.

2L Mock Trial Competition

The 2L Mock Trial Competition gives you your first opportunity to present a case in a courtroom. The emphasis of the competition is on putting facts together to present a persuasive case to a jury. The competition brings together students from all three classes. First year students serve as witnesses and jurors. Second year students act as trial attorneys. Third year students with trial advocacy experience act as judges for preliminary rounds.

External Trial Advocacy Competitions

During your third year, you can refine your trial skills by competing in co-curricular external trial advocacy competitions. You will immerse yourself in the development of a theory of a case and preparing the case for presentation at trial. The competitions are an excellent opportunity to combine knowledge learned in Evidence with skills gained in Trial Advocacy.

Interviewing clients, ascertaining their legal needs, and providing counseling are among the most important skills of the practicing attorney. These skills are strongly emphasized in the Lawyering Skills course. You have an opportunity to further practice those skills in the ABA Client Counseling Competition, in which over 100 teams enter nationwide.

Teams from the College of Law have twice reached the national finals, finishing as high as second in the nation. The College of Law also has hosted the national finals of the competition.

Representing clients in a mediation setting is an essential skill for lawyers. You have the opportunity to learn this skill in Mediation, Theory and Practice and Alternative Dispute Resolution.

The ABA Representation in Mediation Competition, in which law students role-play as advocates and clients in a mediation setting, gives you further opportunity to refine the skills of client representation in mediation. The contest measures how well you model appropriate preparation for and representation of a client in mediation and provides valuable experience in the mediation process.

The winning team from the NIU College of Law Negotiation Competition represents the College of Law in the ABA Negotiation Competition. The NIU College of Law team has twice been a national finalist.

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