Brandeis School of Law students gain valuable skills through numerous oral advocacy opportunities.
Brandeis School of Law offers many opportunities to enjoy "out-of-classroom" experiences, such as skills competitions, writing competitions and our University of Louisville Signature Partnership with Central High School's Law and Government Magnet Program.
The Brandeis School of Law has one of the most comprehensive moot court and professional skills competition programs in the country. Students have compiled a record of achievement that includes a total of five national championships, with wins in 1999, 2000, 2008, 2011 and 2016.
On the national level, students may choose among various different national competitions. The student Moot Court and Professional Skills Competition Board conducts tryouts for each competition. Alumni members of the bench and bar as well as faculty coaches assist students in preparation for national competition, including:
- ABA Arbitration Competition
- ABA Client Counseling Competition
- ABA Negotiation Competition
- AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition
- Herbert Wechsler National Criminal Law Moot Court Competition
- Jeffrey G. Miller Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition
- Kentucky Intrastate Mock Trial Competition
- Robert L. Wagner National Labor Law Moot Court Competition
- Irving Kaufman Memorial Securities Law Moot Court Competition
- National Moot Court Competition
- NYU Immigration Law Competition
- American Trial Lawyers Association Moot Trial Competition
- American Intellectual Property Law Association Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Court Competition
- International Trademark Association Saul Lefkowitz National Moot Court Competition
- Transactional Law Meet Competition
- Savannah Challenge Trial Advocacy Competition
- National Tax Moot Court Competition
- American Trial Lawyers Association Moot Trial Competition
Pirtle-Washer Moot Court Competition
All students participate in a moot court argument during the second semester of their first year. During the second year students may compete for financial awards in the Henry Pirtle and Benjamin F. Washer Moot Court Competition. Pirtle was the first dean of the law school from 1846 to 1873. Washer was dean of the Jefferson School of Law for 20 years prior to its merger with the university. Participation in the Pirtle-Washer competition provides a foundation for representing the Brandeis School of Law in national competitions.
First-Year Oral Advocacy Competition
The competition provides an opportunity for first year law students to hone their oral advocacy skills, compete with peers, and meet local attorneys and judges.
All competitors argue in the Preliminary Rounds, with the top 8 competitors advancing to Wednesday’s quarterfinal rounds. Starting with quarterfinals, competition will be head-to-head, meaning one competitor from each round will advance.
Brandeis offers a variety of writing competitions, most with cash prizes on the line. They include a Best in Class eDiscovery Legal Research and Writing Competition; Intellectual Property Student Writing Competition; Justice Essay Competition; Legal Ethics Writing Competition; Kentucky Bar Association's Annual Student Writing Competition; Employee Benefits Writing Competition; and many more.
In fall 2001, the Brandeis School of Law entered into a partnership with Central High School. Through the Central Law and Government Magnet Program (established in 1986 by Jefferson County Public Schools), students at Central High School have been provided a variety of enrichment activities – attending moot court competitions and speaker events, law school visits, and participating in a writing competition. These activities are aimed at sparking students' interest toward law.
Since fall 2006, when discussions began about enhancing the program, the law school has been building on the existing partnership in consultation with Joe Gutmann (coordinator of the Law Magnet at Central). The goal of the enhanced activities is to sustain the interest and to build skills for success in college and law school. An overarching goal is that all students will become leaders and active citizens in their community, whether they decide to attend law school or not. The following are the primary curricular components of the partnership programs:
- Street Law
The Street Law curriculum was developed at Georgetown University Law Center in the 1970s and teaches legal issues and critical thinking skills. The curriculum has been adopted at many schools nationwide. Through the program, approximately 12-15 law students teach the curriculum to Central High Law Magnet sophomores. Law students receive public service hours for doing so.
- Writing Skills & Mentorship Program
The Central High School Writing Mentor Program began in August 2008. The program provides a series of activities including writing skills and vocabulary development. About 10 law students and several members of the legal community under the direction of Mary Jo Gleason (former director of the law school’s public service program) attend classes approximately twice a month. There have also been speakers on topics such as professionalism and job interviews. Law students receive public service credit through this program.
- Substantive American Government Coursework
Each year faculty members present sessions on topics such as immigration, search and seizure and housing discrimination. Law students are often involved in planning sessions. The classes are presented to the juniors in conjunction with their American Government textbook assignments.
- Marshall-Brennan Civil Liberties Curriculum
American University Law School has developed a civil liberties curriculum used at several law schools throughout the country. Through this program four to five third year law students teach a civil liberties curriculum to Central High seniors. Law students receive academic credit for their participation, and are supervised by Professor Sam Marcosson.