Saturday, October 02, 2010


Competence is good.

I'm the faculty advisor for the the Board of Advocates at St. Thomas, a student organization which runs both the intramural moot court tournament and the trial advocacy and moot court teams. This morning was the big first round of the intramural tournament, and it went incredibly well. No drama. No panicking. No angry people stalking around.

That, my friends, is competence and hard work in action (and, to be sure, it wasn't me being competent). The students did a fabulous job with the whole thing, and I'm really impressed with that part of my new home (among many other things). Christy Botts and Rita Berg seemed to handle the most tasks, but there were plenty of others who also made something complex seem simple-- which is the hardest of tasks.

No anger, panicking or shaking in fear? No cutthroat bloodletting? Sir, I have been involved in forensics competitions for over a decade, at three levels of play. What you described is not possible.

(I'm kidding, of course, and not a little jealous.)
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Hooray for a well-run, student-run moot court competition.

Baylor was sorely lacking in that department when I was there---frankly, it was appallingly bad. Too many "barristers" who didn't know the first thing about advocacy and whose main goal seemed to be to humiliate all who stood before them who talked substance.

I've done well in my oral arguments by simply ignoring anything I was ever taught about appellate advocacy---better to listen to giants like Paul Clement, Michael Dreeben, Miguel Estrada, and Ted Olson and try to emulate them.
Advocacy competitions without angst? The devil you say!
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