2013-2014 Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition _________________________________ Frequently Asked Questions
I. GENERAL INFORMATION What is the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition (FDMCC)? Ø It is the premier Black legal advocacy competition. This program facilitates and promotes academic excellence through brief writing, critical thinking, and oral advocacy. Each year, between 100-120 teams of Black law students have the opportunity to compete in oral advocacy competitions at the regional and national level, and connect with attorneys and judges. What is the purpose of the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition (FDMCC)? Ø The program was created to provide National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) members with an opportunity to enhance their brief writing and advocacy skills. NBLSA is dedicated to providing minority law students with the skills necessary to succeed in the legal profession. Who operates the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition? Ø FDMCC is operated by NBLSA, the largest student-run organization in the United States. The competition is put on by the student- elected FDMCC National Director, with the help of National Specialists and under the guidance of the National Advisor. Who is eligible to participate in the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition (FDMCC)? Ø Participants must meet ALL of the following eligibility requirements: o Be a 2013-2014 dues paying BLSA member, o Register for the Regional and/or National convention, o Be in good academic standing, and o Submit a letter of good standing from their local BLSA chapter president indicating that he/she: § is a 2013-2014 dues paying member, § has participated in at least one community service activity, § has been a NBLSA member in good financial standing for at least one academic year prior to entering the competition, unless they obtain a one year requirement waiver. How do I apply for the One-Year Requirement Waiver? 1
Ø To apply for a waiver, Competitors must complete the Request for Waiver Form at least two weeks prior to submitting registration materials by emailing the National Director at firstname.lastname@example.org. Participants should attach both letters of good standing. When will the problem be released? Where can I find it? Ø The problem will be available on Westlaw’s FDMCC TWEN page on September 15, 2013. The link to the page is: http://lawschool.westlaw.com/manage/homepage.aspx?courseid=76971 II. REGISTRATION How does my team register for the competition? Ø Online Registration is the preferred method. You may register for the 2013-2014 FDMCC using the link below. o https://nblsa20112012.wufoo.com/forms/20122013-fdmccregistration/ Ø As an alternative to electronic registration, a registration form with attached letters and a photocopy of the check for registration fees may be mailed to Rashad Pendarvis, NBLSA FDMCC Director, at: Rashad Pendarvis NBLSA FDMCC Director 701 Main Street Columbia, SC 29208 o
If you choose this alternative, a copy of the registration form (please include contact name, contact phone number, contact email address, school name, number of teams and the names of EACH team member) and a check for registration fees (made payable to the National Black Law Students Association) must be mailed to: National Black Law Students Association Attn: Ja’net Miles P.O. Box 442338 Lawrence, KS 66044
What form of payment should I use to pay the Registration Fee? Ø There will be an online option to pay by credit card but checks will also be accepted.
Please make checks payable to the National Black Law Students Association
How much is registration? Ø Standard Registration fee $350 Are there any discounts on registration available? Ø YES! o
Early Bird Registration: Teams that submit their registration forms postmarked no later than October 1, 2013 will pay a registration fee of $300. Multiple Team Discount: Schools that enter more than one team in the competition will pay a registration fee of $300 per team if the registration form is postmarked by October 15, 2013. First Time School Participants: Schools that enter one or more teams for the first time since FDMCC was established will pay $250 ($100 off regular registration fee) and the registration fee should be postmarked by October 31, 2013. ONLY ONE DISCOUNT WILL BE APPLIED PER TEAM.
III. BRIEFS What is the proper format for my brief? Ø The proper format for each brief is detailed in the Official Rules, which are posted on the Westlaw TWEN page. You will want to become especially familiar with Article VI of the Official Rules as well as the United States Supreme Court Rules, which supplement the Official FDMCC rules. Which side, Petitioner or Respondent, should I write my brief on? Ø A team may choose to write its brief on behalf of either side. If more than one team from the same school enters the competition, fifty percent (50%) of the total number of briefs submitted must be for Petitioner and the other fifty percent (50%) must be for Respondent. If there are an odd number of teams, the remaining brief may be written on behalf of either side. What is my team’s identification letter? Ø Team ID letters will be assigned to each team no later than Monday, November 5, 2013. Details on how the team ID letters will be assigned will be posted and emailed to competitors after the registration period. When is my brief due?
Ø Briefs must be postmarked no later than Friday, November 22, 2013. How do I service my brief? Ø Three bound copies of each team’s brief must be sent to the National Director. Ø An electronic version of the brief must be uploaded to The West Education Network (TWEN) at www.lawschool.westlaw.com under the “National Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition” course. This upload must be completed by 11:59pm (EST) on Friday, November 22, 2013. Ø The electronic version must be in PDF format. All components of the brief must be sent together as a single document labeled “Team _____ Brief” (inserting assigned Team ID in the blank). Failure to upload the team’s brief in PDF format will result in a penalty. Ø The Certificate of Compliance and Proof of Service MUST be included with each team’s brief submission, but do not include it in the bound copy. Who do I mail my brief to? Ø Mail briefs to: Rashad Pendarvis NBLSA FDMCC Director 701 Main Street Columbia, SC 29208 Will my brief be accepted if it is late? Ø No briefs will be accepted after the postmark date of Friday, November 29, 2013. Briefs filed after the November 22nd deadline may be subject to a penalty. What criteria is the brief score based on? Ø The brief is scored based on the following: o Format/Appearance o Substance § Issue Recognition § Argument § Legal Authority § Mechanics How are briefs scored? Ø Briefs are scored on a 100-point scale. Each brief will be anonymously graded by three separate brief graders. Ø The final score will be the average of those three scores. Who are the brief graders? How are they picked? 4
Ø Brief graders are attorneys, professors, and other legal professionals selected by the National and Regional Directors. When can a grievance be filed? Ø All grievances must be based on a violation of the Official FDMCC Rules. All grievances, including protests against another team’s brief must be submitted to the National Director at least 21 days before the commencement of the grieving team’s regional competition. Ø All teams will be notified of the National Director’s ruling on protests within 5 business days. When will I get my brief score? Ø Brief scores will be distributed at the beginning of the regional competitions in an anonymous format before commencement of oral arguments. Can I protest my brief score? Ø Yes. However, the only protest allowed for brief scores will be addition errors or must be based on some other explicit rule violation. How do I protest my brief score? Ø Protests related to brief scores may be brought to the attention of the competition director during the designated grievance time that will be announced at the regional competition. IV. ORAL ARGUMENTS Which side will my team argue? Ø The National Director and/or Regional Directors will assign sides for the preliminary rounds. A coin toss will determine which side a team argues for subsequent rounds. How much time is allotted for arguments? Ø Each team is allotted 40 minutes in total. The team may divide speaking time as they choose, as long as each participant argues at least 10 minutes and no longer than 25 minutes. Petitioner may reserve up to 2 minutes for rebuttal. Who is allowed in the room during arguments? Ø Generally, only coaches are allowed into the oral argument rounds until the final round, which is open to all spectators. Can my coach take notes of any kind during oral arguments? 5
Ø No. Note taking by persons other than team members is strictly prohibited. Who will judge oral arguments? Ø The National or Regional Director will select esteemed members of the bench and/or members of the bar to judge oral argument rounds. How are oral arguments scored? Ø Advocates will be evaluated on a 100-point scale based on the following: o Legal Issues/Argument Style o Advocacy Style How will my oral argument score be weighed? Ø Regional: o During PRELIMINARY rounds, brief scores will count 30% of the total score and oral argument will count 70% of the total score. o During Sweet Sixteen, Quarterfinal, Semifinal, and Finals, the total score will be solely based on the oral argument score. Ø National: o During all rounds, the oral argument score will count as 100% of the total score.(see the Official Rules for proper procedures in the event of a tie) What happens if my partner drops out of the competition? Ø Each team must consist of two law students attending the same law school. Both members must participate in writing the team’s brief and must argue in each round throughout the entire competition. A team’s failure to have both team members present will result in the team’s disqualification. No team member may be substituted after November 8, 2013 (two weeks before the briefs are due). Will transportation be provided for off-site events? Ø Transportation will be provided for competitors to their competition sites.