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National Animal Law Competitions


  • “The National Animal Law Competitions allows students with a passion for advocacy specifically related to animal issues, to hone their skills to become better advocates. I have always enjoyed advocating for people who could not speak for themselves. By competing in the National Animal Law Competitions, I learned how to craft compelling arguments and learn how to present animal law issues to people who may not be as informed of the challenges that animals face. I enjoyed my time as a competitor so much that I signed up with Animal Legal Defense Fund and have assisted The John Marshall Law School as a coach for students competing in the National Animal Law Competitions. One of the greatest testaments of NALC is that it allows law students who are unaware of the plight of companion animals, farm animals, or even animals subjected to experiments, to become better stewards of those entrusted to our care. There is nothing like watching students evolve from supporters of animal issues to advocates of animal issues.” –Anthony Sam, JD, former competitor 

  • “As a trial lawyer for more than 25 years I was very impressed with the quality of the closing arguments of all the competitors. They performed at a level I would expect of a third year prosecutor, not a law student. And the winner was absolutely fantastic, particularly in her ability to think on her feet during the final round. Finding law students interested in not just the issue but bringing those who abuse animals to justice is particularly meaningful for those of us who have been working, often seemingly alone, in animal welfare enforcement.” –Josh Marquis, JD

  • “My partner and I chose to come back to NALC because we had such a great experience last year– thoughtful judges, a well-run competition, and thought-provoking practice problems. Connecting with animal law professionals and supportive members of the bench has been a great benefit of this competition and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.” –Anna Bennett, UC Irvine Law 3L

  • “It is really amazing to practice real skills and get feedback from the most important scholars and practitioners in animal law. The competition fosters relationships between competitors but also amongst the staff and judges.” –Stefanie Wilson, UC Irvine Law 3L

Frequently Asked Questions

It is appropriate to wear a suit for the rounds. You may dress how you feel comfortable at other times; however, most people will be at least business-casual. Robes will be provied for judges in the moot court rounds. 

Light snacks and beverages will be available Friday evening. Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided for participants and judges Saturday and Sunday, with a banquet Saturday evening. All food and beverages provided will be vegan. 

Friday Information Meetings 
These meetings are important for participants and judges. Please make all efforts to arrive on time. 

Guests & Observers 
All rounds of the competition are open to observers and your guests. They may not sit in to observe your competitors. If they will be joining us for meals, the fee is $30 for the weekend, or $15 for the banquet only. Please email their names to Laura at and send payment to NCAL by February 8, 2008. Tickets for guests will be distributed to competitors at the Friday evening meeting. 

Campus maps are available on the travel page. Signs will also be posted on and around the buildings we will be using. 

Parking passes and directions may be obtained through

Other teams briefs will be posted on the “participants” website linked through your team numbers. 

Writing Briefs v. Oral Arguments 

Judges will be provided a bench brief and will not be reading the briefs of each team. It will not matter which side you wrote the brief for during the oral rounds. 

There are no written submissions for the Closing Argument Competition 

Courtroom Protocal: Introductions 
Moot Court: 
When you begin your oral rounds, the first person arguing for your team should introduce both team members, say who will be arguing which issues, and if appropriate, how much time you would like to reserve for rebuttal, and who will be rebutting. 

Closing Argument: 
Please introduce yourself to the jurors and inform them whether you will be arguing for the plaintiff or defendant. 

Use of Briefs in Oral Arguments 
You will write a brief only for Appellant or Respondent, but must argue both sides throughout the competition. Judges may or may not refer to your briefs during your rounds. 

Time Warnings 
While time warnings are available for the 7, 3, and 1 minute marks, you may request fewer. 

Closing Argument Visuals 
We understand that traveling with visual aids is a bit tricky. There is a Kinko’s and a Staples nearby. 

Interested in volunteering? 
Please contact

National Animal Law Competitions

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