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Moot Court Competition Teams

Western New England University School of Law offers numerous opportunities for students to hone their professional lawyering skills through legal competitions. Through various inter-law school and intramural moot court teams students have ample opportunity to add valuable experiences to their law school education.


Moot Court Teams

  • Our Moot Court Teams

    Students try out for moot court teams in order to perfect their research, writing, and oral advocacy skills and gain confidence and experience presenting a case in court. This valuable educational experience offers excellent preparation for stepping into a career. Team members fine-tune research, writing, and oral advocacy skills; learn to work as a team; and perform under pressure.

  • Student Testimonial

    “Negotiation team was one of the most enjoyable and meaningful experiences I had in law school.  As both a competitor and student coach on the team, I developed valuable practical lawyering skills that I will carry with me into real world practice.  I really enjoyed the collaborative and collegial atmosphere created by the coaches and competitors at practice.  Above all, we were a team, and each of us was dedicated to ensuring the success of our teammates.”Sandra San Emeterio

AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition

The Western New England University School of Law Trial Team holds tryouts early in the fall semester. Four students are chosen for one competing team that enters the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Student Trial Advocacy Competition. There is no writing component to the competition. Tryouts and the competition consist of mock jury trials, including opening statements, direct and cross examinations of witnesses, and closing arguments. More information about the Student Advocacy Trial Competition can be found on the American Association for Justice website.

Coach: Tina Cafaro - Professor Cafaro is an Assistant District Attorney in the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office and is the supervising professor for the Criminal Law Clinic at the School of Law. She teaches at the New England Regional Building Trial Skills program. In addition, she lectures for the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council teaching criminal law and procedure.

To Qualify: Must be a full-time 2L or part-time 3L.

Commitment: Two years – the first year you will assist the team in preparing for the competition; the second year you will select the new members and compete in the competition

Course Credit: First year you will receive 2 credits in the spring semester which satisfies 2 experiential learning credits. Second year, as a competing member, you will receive 1 credit in the fall semester and 2 credits in the spring semester which satisfies 3 experiential learning credits.

Grading: Pass/Fail

Appellate Moot Court Teams

The law school sponsors a number of appellate moot court teams each year. These teams have included:

Each of these competitions requires writing an appellate brief and then traveling to the competition and engaging in a series of competitive oral arguments. Our teams have performed extremely well in these competitions, winning awards for best oral advocate and best brief as well as national championships. 

Students interested in participating in an appellate moot court competition must enroll in a two-credit Appellate Moot Court class. Students in the class receive instruction in appellate brief writing and are required to complete two drafts of an appellate brief written with a teammate from the class. This brief is based on an actual problem from a prior moot competition. Students also receive intensive instruction and practice in appellate oral advocacy. 

The class culminates with a moot court competition. The top competitors from the competition are named to the School of Law's Appellate Moot Court Board, which is responsible for selecting the members of the traveling teams from among its ranks. All participants who successfully complete the class requirements receive two academic credits, whether they are selected to the Appellate Moot Court Board or not.

The substantial benefits of this system include: 

  • Every student in the class has an opportunity to receive direction and feedback with regard to writing an appellate brief. 
  • Students also receive additional instruction, practice, and feedback in oral advocacy.
  • Students who participate on moot court teams have the significant advantage of having written an appellate brief, having delivered multiple oral arguments, and having worked closely with a teammate, all of which are crucial to success in moot court competition.

This class is invaluable to all students, whether they compete on a moot court team or not. 
Because of the way the moot court competitions are scheduled, students take the Appellate Moot Court Course in the fall semester. However, the students selected for the School of Law's Moot Court Board typically do not compete on a team until the next academic year, unless they participate in the Rendigs Products Liability Competition, or the Williams Institute Competition, which will take place entirely in the spring semester. 
Therefore, all 2L students and 3L students who have any interest in brief writing opportunities, oral advocacy, and/or competing on an appellate moot court team are urged to register for the Appellate Moot Court Course. It is permissible to both participate in the Appellate Moot Court Course and try out for the trial teams or the negotiation teams.
Questions about the tutorial class may be directed to Professor Jeanne Kaiser or Professor Myra Orlen
Questions about the individual moot court teams may be addressed to one of the appellate team faculty advisors:  

Jessup InternationalProfessor Charity and Professor Statchen

First AmendmentProfessor Kaiser and Professor Orlen

National Moot CourtProfessor Freeman and Professor Baldwin

Rendigs Products LiabilityProfessor Steiner

National Environmental Moot CourtProfessor Steiner

ABA Negotiation Competition

Selected students participate in the ABA Negotiation Competition which simulates legal negotiations in which law students, acting as lawyers, negotiate a series of legal and factual problems against another team of students. The simulations consist of a common set of facts known by all participants and confidential information known only to the participants representing a particular side. All of the simulations deal with the same general area of the law, but the negotiation situation varies with each round and level of the competition.

For more information, please contact:
Professor Reich-Graefe, Room 201, at rene.reich-graefe@law.wne.edu or 413-782-1451.


ABA Tax Challenge

An alternative to traditional moot court competitions, the Law Student ABA Tax Challenge asks two-person teams of students to solve a cutting-edge and complex business problem that might arise in everyday tax practice. Students interested in enrolling in the ABA Tax Challenge are required to enroll concurrently in the Federal Income Tax Simulation course.

For more information, please conact:

Professor Fred Royal at froyal@law.wne.edu or 413-782-1422.

Recent Competition Highlights

  • Tax Challenge Team Places Second at National Competition

    The Western New England University School of Law Tax Challenge team competed in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 18, 2019 at the 18th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge. The team, Emily Eash and Elaina Hoeppner, placed 2nd at the National Championship. They were one of only three teams to make it to the second round.


    The Western New England School of Law Negotiation Team placed third in the ABA National Negotiation Competition after spending 8 days competing against 13 other teams. The Western New England team included law students Thomas Holman of Middletown CT, and Joseph Masse of Wakefield RI. The team was assisted by former team member Matthew Minniefield, who now works as a law clerk at the New York Court of Appeals. Law Professor Rene Reich-Graefe, who coached and mentored the negotiation team, was thrilled with the outstanding performance of law students representing the Western New England University.

  • Transactional Law Meet Team Places Second in 2017-2018 Regional Meet

    The Western New England University School of Law Transactional Law Meet team finished second (behind the team from Northwestern University Law School) at the regional meet held on Friday, February 23 at Widener Commonwealth Law School in Harrisburg, PA. The team members included Joseph Masse (3L), Heather Merrill (4L), and Karen Tiroletto Santiago (4L). In the competition they represented the sellers of a high-tech firm that was being purchased by a sovereign wealth fund from China. The facets of the competition included: interviewing their client, drafting an agreement, marking up the other side's document and, ultimately, negotiating a deal. Dean Eric Gouvin served as faculty advisor and former team member Attorney Kelvin Thomas (JD/MBA '14) from the Hartford firm of Ford & Paulekas, did much of the coaching. Additional help was provided by faculty members Rene Reich-Graefe and Robert Statchen, along with attorneys Daniel McKellick ('14) of Bacon Wilson and David Parke of Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas.

Additional Awards

  • Additional Awards

    Semifinalists, National ABA Negotiation Competition, 2016-2017
    Finalist, Regional ABA Negotiation Competition, 2016-2017
    Semifinalists, National ABA Negotiation Competition,  2015-2016
    Regional Semifinalist, Transactional Lawyering Meet,  2015-2016
    Regional Semifinalist, Transactional Lawyering Meet,  2014-2015
    Finalist, Regional ABA Negotiation Competition, 2014-2015
    Quarterfinalists, Jeffrey G. Miller Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition,  20147-2015
    Regional Semifinalist, Transactional Lawyering Meet,  2013-2014
    Regional Champion, Transactional Lawyering Meet,  2012-2013
    Finalist, Regional ABA Negotiation Competition, 2012-2013
    Quarterfinalists, Northeast Region, National Moot Court Competition, 2012-2013
    Second Place, ABA Law Student Tax Challenge,  2011-2012
    National Champion, Transactional Lawyering Meet,  2010-2011
    Quarterfinalists, First Amendment Moot Court Competition, 2010- 2011
    Best Brief (Petitioner), Rendigs National Products Liability Moot Court Competition,  2010-2011
    Best Oralist, Rendigs National Products Liability Moot Court Competition, 2010-2011
    First Place, ABA Law Student Tax Challenge, 2008-2009
    Quarterfinalists, First Amendment Moot Court Competition, 2008-2009
    Best Written Submission, ABA Law Student Tax Challenge,  2008-2009
    First Place, Rendigs National Products Liability Moot Court Competition,  2008-2009
    Finalist (Team 1), Regional ABA Negotiation Competition, 2008-2009
    Finalist (Team 2), Regional ABA Negotiation Competition, 2008-2009
    Finalist, Regional ABA Negotiation Competition, 2007-2008
    Semifinalist, National ABA Negotiation Competition, 2007-2008
    First Place, ABA Law Student Tax Challenge,  2006-2007
    Best Brief, Frederick Douglass National Moot Court, 2006-2007
    Finalist, Regional ABA Negotiation Competition, 2006-2007