Moot Court Online!?! By: Ethan Tong

NCFCA Announces Online Moot Court! What!? I know what you are thinking? How can this be? Some of you may be thinking of throwing in the towel! Not so fast!! Check out what Ethan Tong has to say about the incredible value of Moot…

For almost every competitor, debate is a rite of passage. Maybe it’s the skills you learn, the information you gain from research, or just the resumé boost. Debate is fantastic for all of those things.

But you need to do Moot Court before you graduate.

Moot Court probably won’t ever become more popular than debate, since debate has been around for longer. But take it from me: Moot Court is so much better.

In debate, you’re engaging in a discussion with a person or team who will never agree to your side––they’re not supposed to!

Moot Court, on the other hand, simulates real world discussions: it’s you having a conversation with another person (the judge), answering their objections in an attempt to get them to see your side. The round is a professional, calm deliberation on relevant issues. There’s no leniency with fast, unintelligible speaking, or rude interruptions. Respect is held high in Moot Court.

Oh, and did I mention that Moot Court is MUCH less time consuming than debate? I can attest to the fact that I only need 9 hours of prep before my first tournament of 2019––and me and my partner EJ Rorem were the top seeded team and placed third! Had I known what I know now about prep, I definitely could’ve competed with just six hours of prep and had the same results (the other three hours were spent pouring over cases I never used). Is that crazy or what? You have no excuse for not doing Moot!

But best of all, Moot Court provides an opportunity to study the Constitution. In the last three years, NCFCA has produced cases arguing over the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments, allowing students to really dive deep into arguably America’s most important document.

I’m sure you’ve heard of cases like Obergefell v. Hodges (the gay marriage case) and Roe v. Wade (the abortion case). But how do you know they were wrongly decided? Were they? Understanding the workings of our Constitution equips us with the knowledge we need to have fruitful conversations with others. And Moot Court is the perfect environment for that to happen.

This last week, NCFCA announced that in addition to online national-qualifying tournaments, three online Moot Court tournaments will be held. Regardless of this new setting, this still might be Moot Court’s biggest year.

There are two reasons for this. First, Moot Court is primarily an oral activity. If you watch the Moot Court greats, you’ll notice that they don’t use hand gestures, move around the lectern, or display strong emotions. That’s because the heart of Moot Court is dispassionate justice: a focus on reason and rationality alone. The fact that Moot Court is online will redirect competitor’s focus towards these goals, rather than other aspects of persuasion (nonverbals, dress, etc.).

The other huge reason Moot Court will be better this year is its accessibility. No longer will students have to travel to North Carolina or other National Mixers to compete. Instead, you’ll just have to walk from your bed to the living room and turn on your computer. Granted, maybe the walk from your bed to your living room is farther than you’re used to these days… but the fact that Moot Court no longer requires expensive hotels and long car rides is a major plus. And, since there are now Moot-only tournaments, you don’t need to decide between doing Moot or doing five speeches––you can do both!

This summer, I started Blackstone Moot Court, which is offering two low-cost ($80/$115, with discounts) camps to prepare students for this upcoming season. So maybe I’m biased when I say you need to do Moot Court! But even if you don’t come to the camp (you don’t need camp to be good!) you should consider competing in Moot Court. Many people who compete in the event say it was their all-time favorite activity, and I’d hate for you to miss out and regret it after you’ve graduated!

If you are interested in getting coached by Moot Court legends like Hope Rawlson, Noah Howard, and many other decorated Moot competitors, head over to our website at Early bird price lasts until the end of the month. Hope to see you there!