Twenty four teams of second and third year law school students argued a case about either the Clean Air or the Clean Water Act Thursday at the Erickson alumni Center. Students did this while someone sat across the room and judged them on their technique.
"It's great experience and both just whipping out legal terms knowing how to compose yourself how to respond to questions," said Joshua Ash, a competitor in the Moot Court Competition for WVU. "It's impossible to prepare for every question so a lot of this is just practice that it's hard to get unless you actually start doing it."
The Energy and Sustainability Moot Court competition focuses on the Clean Air or Water Acts. The key to the competition is focusing on energy law and environmental issues. It's the only one like it in the United States.
Law students argue on brief in the first round in front of a panel of judges. Which means they argue what they wrote down for the brief. But in the second round, things get interesting.
"[Friday] they'll argue off Brief and argue the opposite side that they did," said Josh Cottle, the Associate Justice of the Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition and the organizer of the event. "What that means is essentially that it allows us to be able to judge them on whether they really know the full aspect of the issue and whether they can discuss it in neutral terms and objective terms that the judges can grade them on."
"So as Moot Court we kind of started at the beginning of 2L year and we have different competitions throughout the year," said Kelli Ganz, the Chief Justice of Moot Court at WVU. "We have a one L competition to get onto Moot Court and once there on the court they get to travel to any competition that they want. "
Several federal judges and an attorney who won a case before the United States Supreme Court will judge the final round.
Joshua Ash says this is just one of the reasons it's beneficial to participate in the competition.
"Aside from just having great experience and practicing doing the research and the arguing I think there's a great value in networking," Ash said. "Because there's lost students from all over the country here so aside from the experience were meeting people in the field that we're going to practice in one day and gaining really valuable networking. "
In honor of March madness the judges will use the scoring sheets to narrow the teams down to an elite eight, then final four, and the national champions.The winners will be decided on Saturday at the Erickson Alumni Center. If you'd like to watch it's free and open to the public.