Environmental Law Program

Calling All Those Interested In Trying Out for the National Environmental Law Moot Court Team!

** application deadline Tuesday, September 11, 2012 by 4:00 pm (early submissions welcome!)

The Team: The William S. Richardson School of Law National Environmental Moot Court (NELMC) Team is a three-student team that competes in the Pace University School of Law’s National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition (White Plains, New York) in February of each year. For 24 years, our team has consistently placed among the top ranks of this prestigious competition. Despite having no returning members, last year’s team – Lehua Kauhane, Jamil Newirth, and Tiara Maumau – barely missed advancing to the quarterfinal round by tenths of a percentage point. Over the last four years, our teams have earned “best oralist” awards in nine of twelve preliminary rounds. The 2008 team – Allan Alicuben, Jael Makagon, and Mits Takahashi – advanced to the final round, placing in the “top 3” of the more than 70 teams from across the country. In 2002, we won the Best Brief in the Appellee category. In 2003, our team won the prestigious Best Overall Brief Award. In 1999, the Law School’s team won first place in the oral competition.

The faculty coach for the team is ELP Interim Director David Forman (who was a team member on the very first WSRSL team entered to compete in this competition). The 2012-13 NELMC team will consist of returning team member Tiara Maumau plus two new members. 2Ls and 3Ls in the Day and Evening programs are invited to apply. We are also looking for a 1L “Team Assistant” to assist the team with practice rounds. Applications to serve as Team Assistant are due on Tuesday, September 11 by 4:00 p.m. 1L Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume and writing sample to dmforman@hawaii.edu. Team Assistant interviews will be scheduled at mutually convenient dates/times following selection of the 2012-13 team.

Timing and Commitment: The problem is expected to be released on October 4, 2012. In advance of that date, the team and its coach will meet to discuss the unique nature of this particular competition and discuss some basic principles of Environmental Law since such discussion will not be permitted following release of the problem. The team’s brief must be received by the Pace Environmental Moot Court Board by November 29, 2011. Intensive practice oral arguments will begin as soon as possible thereafter, but no later than early January, continuing until the team leaves for the competition in late-February. Practice sessions are 2-4 evenings a week and last 2-3 hours, not including substantial preparation time. Faculty, practitioners, and judges serve as moot court judges for the practice rounds to critique the presentations. Travel to the competition involves taking one week off from school for the national competition (there is no regional competition for this team), which will take place from February 21-23, 2013. The school excuses team members from class (for limited days; no automatic assignment extensions, including on SYS) and pays a stipend to help cover airfare, lodging, and per diem. Being a successful member of the NELMC requires an extensive time commitment, a passion for the appellate advocacy process, and excellent teamwork skills. Specific background in environmental law is desirable but not required.
The Topic: Each year, Pace selects a topic that involves cutting-edge issues in federal environmental law and three parties to the dispute (a citizens group, a state or federal agency, and a private corporation). The problem typically involves one major federal environmental statute and related issues of statutory interpretation, federal court process, administrative law, and constitutional law. Teams may choose any of the three sides to represent on the brief, but during the competition, all teams must argue all sides. During practice oral arguments, team members extensively practice arguing different positions on the issues and split up the issues.

The Selection Process: The Selection Committee will include ELP Interim Director (and faculty coach) David Forman, Professors Maxine Burkett and Kapua Sproat, with input solicited from the sole returning team member and/or selected team alumni. The application for the team is due on Tuesday, September 11 by 4:00 p.m. (submissions in advance of the deadline are encouraged!). We plan to conduct interviews of prospective team members on Friday, September 14th, or alternative dates if necessary.

# – For each year of competition, team members are entitled to one (1) moot court credit towards their law degree along with one (1) additional directed study credit.

The two primary qualifications for the team are brief writing skills and oral argument skills. Students interested in being considered for the team should email the following materials to the Selection Committee at the following addresses: dmforman@hawaii.edu, kapuas@hawaii.edu, and burkettm@hawaii.edu:

(1) A 1-page cover letter explaining why you want to be on the team, along with a current resume, grades, and statements regarding:

(a) the times that you will be available to interview with the Selection Committee on September 14th, or alternative proposed dates/times, and

(b) whether or not you consent to share your confidential application with team alumni and/or the returning team member for purposes of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA);

(2) A brief attachment detailing your legal writing skills (your Appellate Advocacy brief performance will be given heavy weight; please mention your brief grade and any awards; other brief and legal writing experience should be described); and

(3) A brief attachment detailing your oral argument skills (please mention your performance in any competitions and any awards; other oral argument awards and background, including Appellate Advocacy, high school or college speech and debate, should be described).

Questions? For more information, please feel free to ELP Interim Director David Forman, ‘11-‘12 Team Captain Lehua Kauhane (lehua.kauhane@gmail.com), or ‘11-‘12 Team Assistant Shae Kamaka‘ala (shaelene@hawaii.edu). ELP encourages you to join the NELMC team!