Diversity Moot Court Competition Presented by The ABA Forum on Communications Law
Congratulations to the 2013 Moot Court Competition winners, Omar Vasquez and Daniel Arellano!
This annual competition, now in its fifth year, is designed to introduce minority law students to the practice of media law and to many of the lawyers who are active in the media law bar.
The moot court Hypothetical Case involves timely issues of national significance in the field of media law. Past competitions have included issues relating to, for instance, regulation of “street fight” videos and subpoenas designed to “unmask” anonymous website contributors. Last year’s topic involved issues similar to those currently in the news with respect to WikiLeaks.
Law students interested in the competition submit short written applications and a short essay on a media law question posed in the application. From the application submissions, eight teams are selected to submit an appeal brief.
Prizes are awarded to the team with the highest-scoring brief as well as to the team that wins the oral argument rounds, and all teams attending the Annual Conference receive the opportunity to attend engaging and informative panels as well as invaluable networking opportunities with practicing media lawyers from across the country.
“Participating in the ABA First Amendment and Media Law Diversity Moot Court Competition has been one of the best experiences we have had in law school. Through the competition, we had the opportunity to enhance our legal research and brief writing skills, and learn more about the dynamic field of media and communications law. Furthermore, we were able to practice our oral advocacy skills in front of a distinguished panel of judges and practitioners. Participating in the Competition was an opportunity of a lifetime, and one that we will never forget.”
Sarmili Saha, Fordham Law 2011 & Elba L. Bermudez, Fordham Law 2012
APPLICATIONS, BRIEFING, ORAL ARGUMENT
Teams from any ABA-accredited law school are encouraged to apply to participate in the competition. Students must be members of the National Black Law Students Association; the National Latino/a Law Student Association; the National Asian Pacific American Law Student Association; the National Native American Law Students Association; or a comparable minority law student organization at their school.
To apply, a team must submit a completed application, consisting of an application form, and for each team member: a resume; a short writing sample; and a response to a short essay question on a media-related topic. There is no fee to apply.
The Competition Committee will select eight (8) First Round teams to participate in the Competition. First Round competition requires each team to submit an appeal brief of up to 30 pages. Out of the First Round teams, the top four (4) teams, as determined by brief scores, will be invited to compete in oral arguments.
MOOT COURT HYPOTHETICAL
This year’s hypothetical involves the tort of “hot news” misappropriation. A creature of state law, the tort of “hot news” misappropriation potentially imposes liability on, among others, online “news aggregators” who republish information gathered by traditional news media outlets. In this case, Real Time Online (RTO), which offers premium, real-time online legislative information and analysis, covering all 50 states, has sued The SunshineExpress.org, which regularly reviews the RTO website and then publishes selected RTO content on its own publicly accessible website. Participants are asked to address: (1) whether RTO’s hot news misappropriation claim is preempted by the federal Copyright Act; and (2) whether the First Amendment protects Sunshine Express’s use of RTO’s content, and, if not, whether the First Amendment limits the injunctive relief RTO seeks. Click here for a more detailed summary of this year’s hypothetical.
“I would highly recommend law students to enter the Diversity Moot Court Competition, particularly those of you interested in media and communications law. The chance of winning a trip to Palm Springs and attending the ABA Media Law Conference is reason enough to enter. After last year's competition, I was able to meet some of this country's leading attorneys practicing in the area of communications law for private law firms, media companies, the federal government, and nonprofit organizations.
The Competition also provides a valuable opportunity to sharpen legal research, writing, and oral advocacy skills. Working collaboratively with my partner on the brief on last year's creative and challenging hypothetical case was both fun and a great learning experience. The feedback I received during the oral argument rounds was also very helpful, and I was able to put this advice to immediate practice. The judges of the Competition did not only offer sound technical advice about oral advocacy. As experienced practitioners well acquainted with media law, the judges, in their questioning, were able to engage with the issues on a level not common to moot court competitions.
Overall, the Diversity Moot Court Competition was an extremely rewarding, challenging, and enjoyable experience.”
Matthew Maddox, Yale Law School
COMPETITION ADMINISTRATION AND SPONSORS
The First Amendment and Media Law Diversity Moot Court Competition is administered by the American Bar Association Forum on Communications Law. The Competition Committee, which is comprised of media lawyers, in-house counsel at national media companies, and tenured and visiting law school faculty, will oversee the administration of the Competition.
The 2011-12 Competition was made possible by the generous support of the following companies and law firms:
Davis Wright Tremaine
Faegre Baker Daniels
Frost Brown Todd
Hiscox Insurance Company, Inc.
Kelley Drye White O'Connor
Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz
Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton
Thomas & LoCicero
Vinson & Elkins
The following student organizations are co-sponsors of the Competition:
ABOUT THE FORUM
The more than 2,500 members of the American Bar Association Forum on Communications Law regularly represent media and telecommunications companies in litigation and regulatory and transactional matters, among other things. The principal objectives of the Forum are: (1) to encourage discussion of issues relating to the legal counseling and representation of the print media, the telecommunications industry, and the electronic media; (2) to support and promote research, forums and publications focusing on communications and media law; and (3) to keep abreast of developments in communications and media law. In addition, the Forum understands and appreciates the value of a diverse legal profession. It is committed to diversifying its membership and to participating in activities and programs that expand opportunities for minority students and attorneys to become active members of the legal profession and the media bar in particular. The Competition is designed in part to facilitate these objectives.
For any questions about the competition, or to reach the Competition Committee, please contact Jeanette Melendez Bead at email@example.com.