Format of the Staton Intramural Competition
At the beginning of the fall semester, each competitor will receive the competition problem, which will contain two related but distinct legal issues. Each competitor will pair up with another student. Competitors may choose a specific partner or ask the Moot Court Board to assign them a partner. Each competitor will write a brief arguing only one side of one of the issues. After the brief-writing period of the competition, the competitors will submit their briefs for scoring. Members of the faculty, practitioners, and judges from the Indianapolis legal community will score the briefs.
After the competitors submit their briefs, the oral advocacy portion of the competition will begin. Each two-student team will deliver four oral arguments. During each round of argument, each competitor will argue the issue that he or she briefed. Each team will also switch sides of the argument (i.e., petitioner and respondent) from round to round.
Panels of two to four judges drawn from the law school faculty, the Moot Court Society’s Order of the Barristers, and the Indianapolis legal community will preside over the oral arguments. The judges will score each competitor individually. When determining scores, judges will focus on the competitors’ forensic ability and the substance of their arguments.
Oral arguments will be held Monday through Thursday evenings at Inlow Hall and in the Indiana Court of Appeals at the Indiana Statehouse. Competitors will argue once per week. Before the oral arguments begin, each team will be given the opportunity to tell the Moot Court Board which day of the week they prefer to argue. Although there is no guarantee, the Board generally assigns teams to either their first or second scheduling preference.
When the fourth week of the competition concludes, the Moot Court Board will compute a composite score for each competitor. The Board will compute this score by first computing an average oral argument score for each competitor. Only the best three oral argument scores for each competitor are included in this average; the lowest oral argument score is dropped. After computing each competitor’s average oral argument score, the Board will combine this score with the competitor’s brief score to arrive at the competitor’s composite score. The average oral argument score will be worth 60% of the composite score; the brief score will be worth 40% of the composite score.
The Barrister Tournament
Competitors with composite scores in the top 25% of all competitors are named to the Order of the Barristers. If the number of competitors that score in the top 25% of all competitors is less than 32, the top 32 competitors are named to the Order of the Barristers. Members of the Order of the Barristers advance to a one-week tournament called the Barrister Tournament. At that point, the competitors are assigned new partners unless both partners on a team advance and both partners wish to continue as a team. Some students may be required to switch issues during the Barrister Tournament.
Scoring during the Barrister Tournament is on a team basis. The Tournament is a single-elimination tournament (winning teams advance; losing teams are done). By the end of the Tournament, the field is narrowed to two teams who argue in the Tournament final. The final round is held in the Indiana Supreme Court before a panel of trial and appellate court judges.
What it means to be a Barrister
Students who are named to the Order of the Barristers and participate in the Barrister Tournament receive one credit of "A." All other competitors who complete the competition requirements become members of the Moot Court Society and receive one credit of "Satisfactory."
All Barristers are automatically eligible to represent the school in prestigious national and international moot court competitions. After representing the school in one of those competitions, a Barrister may serve as a coach for a team competing in these competitions. Additionally, all Barristers, regardless of national team participation, are eligible to serve on the Moot Court Board. All of these activities entitle Barristers to additional credits of "A." Finally, all Barristers are expected to judge oral arguments during future Staton Competitions.
Competitors who achieve excellence will receive awards. More specifically, the top advocate in the initial four rounds of the competition, the competitor who writes the top brief, the winning team in the Barrister Tournament, and the top advocate in the Barrister Tournament receive awards.
Robert H. Staton
The Robert H. Staton Intramural Moot Court Competition at the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law is named in in honor of alumnus and former Indiana Court of Appeals Judge, Robert H. Staton. The late Judge Statonís commitment to excellence was evidenced by his service to his community and the legal profession. We are grateful for his support over the years and look forward to continuing the tradition of excellence he inspired.