An Inside Look at BC Law’s Academic Competitions

One thing that I’ve really loved about BC Law is the opportunity to develop lawyering skills outside of the classroom. Right now, 2Ls are in the midst of competing in the prestigious Wendell F. Grimes Moot Court competition. In honor of this notable law school experience, I sat down with Sarah Nyaeme, President of the Board of Student Advisors (and my roommate), to learn more about the competitions offered at BC Law.

Tell us a little bit about the Board of Student Advisors and what role the BSA plays in law school academic competitions.

The Board of Student Advisors is the student-led organization that helps facilitate and run the various advocacy programs at BC. These programs include the ABA Negotiation and Client Counseling competitions, Moot Court, and Mock Trial. The BSA includes both 2L and 3L co-chairs who are assigned to specific competitions. In addition, we have 1L representatives who shadow the co-chairs and assist with the behind-the-scenes work.

Can you provide us with an overview of the various competitions?

Even before coming to law school, I had heard that a major part of the law school experience was participating in Mock Trial and Moot Court. Although academic competitions are usually reserved for upperclassman, BC gives 1Ls the opportunity to participate as well.

As a 1L, I was interested in participating in both the Negotiations and Client Counseling competitions. Not having significant legal experience before coming to law school, I was excited to participate in real-world legal simulations within the first month of stepping onto campus. For the Negotiations competition, 1Ls are provided with a fact pattern and have to attempt to reach an agreement with another party. Client Counseling also involves a fact pattern, but students are tasked with interviewing an upperclassman “client” to obtain the relevant facts and decide whether they will take on the case. For both of these competitions, no prior experience or significant preparation is necessary. It is a great change of pace from the 1L curriculum and homework.

Moot Court and Mock Trial are both traditionally 2L or 3L competitions. Participating in these competitions enables students to try out for BC Law’s national teams and compete against students from schools across the country. For Moot Court, students are immersed in a simulated appellate court proceeding. They must submit a written brief and then have to present their arguments and field challenging questions from the judges. Mock trial, on the other hand, mirrors a real-life trial which includes opening and closing arguments, presenting evidence, and interviewing witnesses. Both are great practical ways to learn more about litigation.

All competitions result in a final round, where members of the BC community get together to observe and cheer on their classmates. Luckily, we have been able to run the competitions virtually this year.

What are the benefits of getting involved in these competitions as both a 1L and upperclassman?

For 1Ls in particular, I know the first year is busy. However, these competitions are a great way to meet your classmates and network with alumni who serve as judges. I know plenty of students who have built lasting relationships with alumni that started at the Negotiations Competition. Furthermore, it is a great experiential opportunity that requires minimal preparation.

For the 2L/3L competitions, a spot on BC’s national teams is competitive and highly coveted, making it not only a great oral advocacy experience, but also a resume booster. Further, the briefs students submit for the Moot Court Competition in the past have been used as writing samples when students are applying for jobs. You also get the chance to meet more of your classmates and continue to network with these alumni judges.

Are these partner-based competitions, and if so, what if I don’t have a partner?

Yes, all of these competitions are partner-based, so you get to share the workload, collaborate, and get a different perspective on legal issues. And if you don’t know who you want your partner to be, you are in good company! A majority of students choose to go random and the co-chairs will take care of the pairings. Having a random partner is beneficial because you will likely meet someone outside of your section and you will have different backgrounds coming into the competition.

***

Thanks so much to Sarah for taking the time to chat with me about these competitions. During my time at BC Law, I, too, was involved in a number of ways. I participated in both 1L competitions and also ran Moot Court as a co-chair last year. This experience allowed me to practice public speaking, collaborate with my classmates, and learn the importance of advocacy early on, all while having a lot of fun along the way!


Courtney Ruggeri is a third-year student at BC Law and president of the Impact blog. Contact her at ruggeric@bc.edu.

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