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First Amendment and Media Law Diversity Moot Court Competition

Moot Court Competition Finals
Thursday, February 1, 2024 | 3:30 - 5:30 PM

The Ritz-Carlton, Bacara
8301 Hollister Avenue
Santa Barbara, CA 93117

Application Process

Law students interested in the Competition submit a written application, including a short essay explaining their interest in issues of media and communications law. There is no fee to apply. All applications are due  and must be received no later than Midnight PDT on the deadline date. Students may apply individually or as part of two-person teams (each team member must complete an individual application).

Based on the essay submissions, competitors are selected to submit an appeal brief as part of a two-person team. Applicants who did not apply as part of a team will be paired with a partner.

Application Deadline:  Monday, October 23, 2023.

Competition Rules & Details

Competing teams are assigned a hypothetical set of facts from which to prepare an appellate brief. Each team will be paired with a practicing media lawyer for career advice, mentoring and networking. Mentors also will review and comment on a draft of their assigned team’s appellate brief.

Briefs are judged blindly by a panel of experienced media-law practitioners. The team with the highest-scoring brief will be awarded “Best Brief” and each team member will receive $1,000.

Each team that timely submits a brief compliant with the rules will be invited to argue the case before panels of communications lawyers acting as judges. Each team will take part in two argument sessions before two different panels of judges: One round in which the team will argue “on brief” (the side for which the team’s brief was prepared) and a second round “off brief” (arguing the opposing side). 

The four individual competitors with the highest combination of scores from the brief and the two oral arguments, without regard to team assignment, will compete in the finals, arguing before a panel of prominent sitting judges. For the final round of arguments, the finalists will be randomly assigned to represent appellant or appellee, resulting in new team assignments.

The team with the highest score for the final round will be the winner of the Competition. Each member of the winning team will receive $750. The finalist with the highest score for the final round of oral argument will be deemed “Best Oralist” and will receive $1,500. 

Moot Court 2023-2024 Competition Official Rules

Overview and Deadline

The annual First Amendment and Media Law Diversity Moot Court Competition, now in its 16th year, is designed to introduce diverse law students to the practice of media law and to lawyers active in the communications law bar. The competition offers cash awards for superior performance in appellate briefing and oral argument.

The moot court hypothetical case will involve timely issues of national significance in the areas affecting communications law. The preliminary rounds of this year’s competition will be held virtually via video conference and will feature judges that are partners at top law firms, in-house counsel at major media companies, and media law scholars. Finalists will receive airfare and accommodations for the Forum on Communications Law’s Annual Conference scheduled to take place February 1 - 3, 2024. The final round of competition will take place in-person at the Conference before prominent members of the judiciary.


Students from any ABA-accredited law school are encouraged to apply to participate in the competition. Students must be members of a chapter 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; National Disabled Law Students Association;  National LGBT Bar’s Law Student Congress or a comparable minority law student organization at their school.


Participant's Instructions

District Court Decision

Summary of Hypothetical


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, made up of volunteer scholars and practitioners from across the field of media law, will oversee the administration of the Competition.

For any questions, please contact the Competition Committee at: [email protected]

Natalie Harris
Baron Harris Healey
Chicago, IL 

Linda R. Norbut
Thomas & LoCicero
Tampa, FL

Amy Kristin Sanders 
The University of Texas at Austin | Moody College of Communication
Austin, TX

Past Recipients

To see the past recipients, click here.