The Board of Student Advisers at Harvard Law School invites you to serve as a judge for the 2018 1L Ames Moot Court Program.
In the 1L Ames program, first-year students brief and argue a fictional appellate case. Every 1L student participates in an oral argument judged by a three-member panel, ideally comprised of one practitioner, one faculty member and one upper-level student. Judges probe the legal logic of participants’ briefs and prompt students to articulate their arguments.
Practitioner judges provide a tremendous benefit to first-year students by giving constructive criticism based on their real world experience. In addition, judging 1L Ames provides an opportunity to connect with students as they consider future job opportunities.
This year’s 1L Ames program will be held April 9-12, with arguments beginning at 7:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. each night.
By late March or early April, judges will be sent copies of the students’ briefs, the appellate record, a comprehensive bench memo with sample questions, and feedback forms to help students improve. During the 1L Ames program, dinner will be provided to judges before the first argument each evening, starting at 6 p.m.
If you are interested in judging, please register here. Please register by Friday, March 23.
More information about the 1L Ames Moot Court Program can be found here. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mollie Swears, co-chair of the 1L Ames Moot Court Committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (484) 557-7120.
2018 First-Year Ames Case Descriptions
Beckett v. Wingate Rifle Co. presents a question of first impression for the Nevada Supreme Court: whether a gun manufacturer may be held liable for the wrongful deaths of those shot with its high-powered weapon. The trial court granted summary judgment for the defendant, but the plaintiffs, on appeal, have pressed their theories of negligence in the marketing and distribution of Wingate’s weapon. Wingate hopes to persuade the court that it should adopt the majority rule against imposing special common law duties on gun manufacturers. Appellants, meanwhile, will need to convince the court that summary judgment was inappropriate, and that the principles of tort law and public policy are on their side.
United States v. Hark presents several appellate issues stemming from Archibald “Archie” Hark’s conviction for distributing more than 100 grams of heroin. After the jury delivered its verdict at trial, Hark moved for acquittal on the basis that federal drug enforcement officials, including Agent Paul Lopez, had induced him to deal the drugs and that, therefore, he was entrapped as a matter of law. Three days after trial, Hark moved separately for a new trial on the basis of newly discovered evidence — several affidavits casting Agent Lopez’s testimony into doubt. The district court denied both motions. On appeal, Hark hopes to persuade the Ninth Circuit that the district court erred in rejecting his motion for acquittal for entrapment as a matter of law and in refusing to grant him a new trial. The government must persuade the court that the lower court was correct in both its rulings.
Smith v. The Daily Muckraker concerns a plaintiff, James Smith, who is a public school teacher and the head of the English department at North Ames High School. After the defendant, The Daily Muckraker, Inc., published an online article claiming Smith, among other things, had a criminal history and plagiarized his master’s thesis, Smith filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Ames, invoking the court’s diversity jurisdiction. The Muckraker answered by filing a special motion to dismiss under the State of Ames’s Anti-SLAPP Act, which, if applicable, would shift the burden to Smith to prove that his suit is likely to succeed on the merits. The first issue on appeal is whether the district court was correct when it held that the Ames Anti-SLAPP Act is a substantive law under the Erie framework and therefore applicable in this diversity suit. The second issue is, assuming that the Anti-SLAPP Act allows The Muckraker to file a special motion to dismiss in federal court, whether the case should be dismissed on the grounds that Smith is a “public official” who has not alleged that The Muckraker acted with actual malice.
Sanchez v. MacNamara Veterinary Specialists stems from Defendant-Appellant June Sanchez's employment as a veterinarian for Plaintiff-Appellee MacNamara Veterinarian Specialists. After eight years of employment, Sanchez resigned and opened her own veterinary practice in Syracuse. MacNamara filed a contract suit, alleging that Sanchez's practice violated her employment contract, which included a restrictive covenant that limited Sanchez's ability to practice as a veterinarian in New York after leaving MacNamara. Sanchez responded that the covenant was unenforceable, and brought a counterclaim alleging that the hospital had retaliated against her for reporting a fellow veterinarian's dangerous conduct, thus constructively discharging her and violating the employment contract. The trial court granted MacNamara's motion for summary judgment, and the New York Court of Appeals granted review over two issues: whether the noncompete portion of the employment contract is enforceable, and whether Sanchez adequately pleaded a cause of action for breach of her employment contract.