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Center for Animal Law Studies

Moot Court: NALC Closing Argument (721-A1)

November 04, 2013

Jacob Bush
1 credit (pass/no pass)
*offered every year

This course will further develop legal analysis, legal reasoning and legal strategy skills as well as enhance oral advocacy proficiency. Students will learn how to prepare and deliver a closing argument in both a criminal or civil jury trial and a criminal or civil bench trial format. Students will also learn how to sift through facts and advocate for both plaintiffs and defendants using the same fact pattern derived from a trial transcript. In addition, students will learn how to effectively use and tackle jury instructions and will learn how to create successful courtroom exhibits.

During the first five weeks, each student will practice writing closing arguments in a criminal or civil case involving an animal law topic and based on specific fact patterns and jury instructions. This part of the course will focus on legal analysis, legal reasoning and legal strategy skills. There will also be classroom sessions focusing only on effective oral advocacy. Over approximately the next three weeks, the students will engage in six rounds of closing argument presentations. The first three of these will be practice rounds and the next three will be competition rounds.

After the six rounds are over, the top two advocates will be offered the chance to participate on Lewis & Clark’s national team for the National Animal Law Competitions (NALC), Closing Argument Competition. NALC, which is organized and presented by Lewis & Clark, takes place at Harvard Law School during the spring semester (usually in late February). Team alternates will also be designated after the conclusion of the six rounds.

From that point forward, the students who are on the NALC Closing Argument team will each independently begin drafting their closing arguments and creating courtroom exhibits based on the official competition problem. The competition problem is released during the fall semester.

Note - It is crucial that competitors read the official NALC rules before beginning work on the problem.

Students not on the NALC Closing Argument team will rewrite the closing argument they prepared for the in-school competition, incorporating comments received on their drafts and comments received during the course of the practice and competition rounds.