William & Mary Law School’s Moot Court Team Ranks Second in the Nation

  • Highly Ranked
    Highly Ranked  The Moot Court Team's number two national ranking is the highest ever for the team, and reflects the hard work of Professor Jennifer Franklin and all the students who compete, as well as alumni who donate hundreds of hours of time to the students.  Photo by David F. Morrill
Photo - of -

William & Mary Law School’s Moot Court team ended the 2021-22 academic year jumping five places to second in the nation according to new data compiled by the University of Houston Law Center.

This is the team’s highest finish to date and has earned them their fifth invitation to the Hunton Andrews Kurth Moot Court National Championship in a row.

“I encourage my students to strive to do their best in everything that they pursue,” said Jennifer R. Franklin, Professor of the Practice of Law and the Moot Court Program's faculty advisor. “When I told them that my goal was to improve our ranking this year, they took me at my word and made it happen.”

Competing members of the team this past academic year included 21 3L members and 20 new 2L members. In the spring semester, the team welcomed 22 new members who will learn the art of appellate advocacy this fall and join the competition ranks next spring.

Since last fall, the Moot Court team sent 24 different teams to 17 different tournaments. In addition, the new International Competition team sent teams to two moot court competitions, winning the national rounds in the IBA International Criminal Court moot court competition, and earning an invitation to compete in the international rounds next month.

Success is not only measured by wins, though the team also brought home championships at the University of Buffalo’s Wechsler Criminal Law Moot Court Competition and the John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition this season. Individual teams worked together to secure several brief awards and individual oralist awards. In addition, the team advanced to the elimination rounds in 14 different competitions.

“With Professor Franklin’s leadership, we were able to build on our recent momentum and secure the number two ranked spot,” said Christian Lansinger ’22, Chief Justice of the Moot Court. “This feat took the whole team to accomplish, and every single point across eleven separate competitions mattered. As these competitions transition back in-person in the coming year, we are confident that we have a strong team of rising 2Ls and 3Ls to solidify our team’s growing reputation as one of the best.”

Besides competing in other venues, the team worked diligently at home, holding its annual Bushrod Competition, where 31 students submitted responses to a writing prompt and competed to secure a spot on the team.

The Moot Court team also hosted the 51st Annual William B. Spong, Jr. Tournament, which was notable for being the team’s first virtual and largest ever tournament with 57 teams from other law schools competing.

“This is marvelous news to end the academic year, and more proof of William & Mary’s unparalleled excellence,” said A. Benjamin Spencer, Dean and Trustee Professor. “To improve an already strong record while still adapting to an online and in-person competition schedule is testament to the hard work of each of our team members and the superb guidance of Professor Franklin. I am extremely proud of this team.”

About the Moot Court Program
The Moot Court Program is one of the Law School's best opportunities for students to develop and refine both oral advocacy and brief writing skills. Team members participate in moot court tournaments, which require each team to research and write an appellate brief, then defend it before a panel of judges in an oral argument. Membership on Moot Court is an honor, and tryouts for the team are competitive.

Each year the Moot Court Team sends its members to approximately 15 inter-collegiate moot court tournaments around the nation. In addition to competing, the team hosts the William B. Spong, Jr., Invitational Moot Court Tournament each year. In existence for more than 35 years, the Spong Tournament focuses on current issues in constitutional law. Rounds are judged by panels of federal and state court judges. The Virginia Trial Lawyers Association is the tournament's co-sponsor, and its representatives also serve as judges for the tournament.

About William & Mary Law School
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America’s first law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.