Intra-school Advocacy Competitions

The Moot Court Honor Society hosts four mock advocacy competitions annually. Each competition is open exclusively to Syracuse Law students which allows for continued training for our students. The Moot Court Honor Society provides “Boot Camp” instruction at the outset of each competition, and local attorneys, professors and jurists provide advice and feedback through each round of the competition. The competitions encourage every participant to further develop advocacy skills needed in today’s legal practice.

The Grossman Trial Competition provides second and third-year law students at the College of Law an opportunity to practice trial skills before experienced trial attorneys and judges during the fall semester. Student teams of two represent a client involved in a lawsuit. As part of the competition, students perform opening arguments, direct-examinations, cross-examinations, and closing statements and enter evidence. Some of our most recent evaluators included the Honorable Glenn T. Suddaby, United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of New York, Frank H. Armani (L’56), attorney, the Honorable Therese Wiley Dancks (L’91), United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of New York, the Honorable Donald A. Greenwood (L’81), Onondaga County Supreme Court Judge, the Honorable Norman A. Mordue (L’71), Senior United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of New York, the Honorable Deborah H. Karalunas, Onondaga County Supreme Court Judge, and the Honorable David E. Peebles (L’75), United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of New York.

The first Lionel O. Grossman Trial Competition was held in 1978 and was named for the College of Law alumnus, Lionel O. Grossman. Mr. Grossman was known for his overwhelming contributions to the local Syracuse community including roles as director of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, Syracuse Boy Scout Commissioner, Director of the YYHA and the Jewish Community Center, Director of the Jewish Welfare Federation, and leader of the local Israel Bond Drive. He was also well known for his devotion to the fight against cerebral palsy. Mr. Grossman founded the Cerebral Palsy Center, served as President of the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Syracuse and New York, and served as co-counsel to the National Cerebral Palsy Legislative Committee.
The Mackenzie Hughes Competition is open to two-person teams consisting of second and third-year Syracuse law students. Syracuse law students receive valuable feedback from practicing lawyers and judges throughout the appellate competition. Volunteer “judges” from the local legal community evaluate each team’s written appellate brief as well as oral argument performance through multiple rounds. Many distinguished local and federal judges bench the competition’s final round of oral argument. Most recently, our esteemed bench included the Honorable Theodore A. McKee, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the Honorable William Q. Hayes, United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of California, the Honorable Robert D. Mariani, United States District Court Judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and the Honorable Frederick J. Scullin, Jr., Senior United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of New York.

Mackenzie Hughes, LLP, located in Syracuse, New York, generously supports the annual Mackenzie Hughes, LLP Edmund H. Lewis Appellate Advocacy Competition held during the spring semester. The competition is named for the Honorable Edmund H. Lewis, distinguished alumnus of Syracuse University College of Law and partner at Mackenzie Hughes, LLP, who served as Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals.
The Alternative Dispute Resolution Competition is open to two person teams consisting of second and third year law students. The competition gives students an opportunity to practice resolving clients’ conflicts through arbitration, mediation and negotiation. Practitioners evaluate teams over the course of three days of rounds which culminate in a final round open to the public.

The Moot Court Honor Society held the first Alternative Dispute Resolution Competition at the College of Law in 2012-2013 in response to the increasing demand for dispute resolution training outside of traditional litigation. Local and longtime supporting firm, Bond, Schoeneck & King began its sponsorship of the ADR competition in 2014-2015.
Only first year students participate in the annual Hancock Estabrook Competition held at the beginning of Spring semester. Students argue issues in a case on appeal before a panel of “judges” who advise as well as evaluate them throughout the competition. Moot Court Honor Society members judge beginning rounds of the competition, and local judges and practitioners evaluate the final round.

The Moot Court Honor Society added the first year oral advocacy competition 2011. In 2013, Syracuse law firm Hancock Estabrook generously sponsored this important opportunity to introduce basic oral argument skills and the art of preparing for and delivering an argument.