Ames Moot Court Competition
The Ames Moot Court Competition is the annual upper level moot court competition at Harvard Law School. It is designed and administered by the Board of Student Advisers and has been in existence since 1911.
Format and history
As currently structured, the official competition begins in the fall (usually October or November) of students' 2L year with a round-robin qualifying round. Each team at this stage consists of four participants, who each argue twice in teams of two. The four teams with the highest scores advance to the semi-finals in the spring. Each team is then allowed to add two participants, for a total of six people per team; two members of each team present oral argument in this round, typically before a panel of one federal appellate judge, one district judge, and one state court judge. In the competition's final round, held in the fall of the 3L year, the two remaining teams argue a case before a panel that usually consists of one U.S. Supreme Court justice and two judges from the United States courts of appeal. Prizes are awarded for the best brief, best oralist, and best overall team.
The competition originally was organized around the school's now-defunct law clubs. The competition occurs primarily in students' 2L year because the faculty found that, for students who did not finish at the very top of their first clear class, "it [was hard] for them to take the same interest in their work, particularly in the work within the law clubs, participation in which depends entirely upon their own volition." Thus, to encourage students to continue working hard, the Ames finalists received prizes of $200 for first place and $100 for second place. After several years of a single-elimination tournament, the format changed to a round-robin that more closely resembles the current qualifying round structure.
The final round competition is one of the most popular events at the Law School each year, especially because a justice from the U.S. Supreme Court usually presides. The Ames Final Round has occasionally been televised on C-SPAN; for instance, the 1995 finals, featuring Justice Stephen Breyer as the presiding judge, is available online here.
Many have found the Ames competition to be a demanding but rewarding experience. Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey of the Colorado Supreme Court, an Ames semi-finalist in her time at Harvard, wrote that "what was most rewarding was the opportunity to work as a team with other students. We could debate, argue, and challenge each other as we analyzed the case and prepared the briefs. The process was much more satisfying than the routine of classroom lectures and solitary examinations. The Ames competition provided a realistic view of what practicing law could be like."
Previous notable winners include:
- Noted Second Circuit judge Henry Friendly (1927)
- California Supreme Court Justice Mathew Tobriner (1927)
- Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun (1932)
- Former Delaware governor Pierre S. du Pont, IV (1963)
- Former member of the California State Legislature Sheila Kuehl (1977)
- Harvard Law School professor Cass Sunstein (1977)
- Former Stanford Law School dean Kathleen Sullivan (1980)
- Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick (1981)
- Congressman Artur Davis (1992—Best Oralist, not on winning team)
- San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (1995)
- Former assistant to the Solicitor General Kannon Shanmugam (1997).
- Best Overall Team & Best Brief - The Daniel J. Meltzer Memorial Team (Luke Beasley, Ben Burkett, William Ferraro, Amanda Mundell, Trenton Van Oss, Connor Winn)
- Best Oralist - Amanda Mundell
- Runner-Up - The Lucy Stone Memorial Team (Michelle Adler, Victoria Hartmann, Helen Rave, Caroline Trusty, Stefanie Tubbs, Mengjie Zou)
- Judges - John Paul Stevens (Supreme Court); David J. Barron (First Circuit); Alison J. Nathan (Southern District of New York)
- Best Overall Team - The Hon. Robert Smith Vance Memorial Team (Kevin Crandall, Amanda Claire Grayson, Gabriel Kohan, Charlotte Lawson, Brian Phelps, Allison Schultz)
- Best Oralist - Charlotte Lawson
- Best Brief & Runner-Up - The Jimmie Lee Jackson Memorial Team (Zoe Bedell, Sam Block, Meghan Cleary, Chen-Chen Jiang, Patrick Knoth, Kavya Naini)
- Judges - Elena Kagan (Supreme Court); Debra Ann Livingston (Second Circuit); Robert L. Wilkins (D.C. Circuit)
- Best Overall Team - The Elliot L. Richardson Memorial Team (Jay Cohen, Cody Gray, Spencer Haught, Christina Martinez, Sean Mirski, Kevin Neylan)
- Best Oralist - Kevin Neylan
- Best Brief & Runner-Up - The Franklin E. Kameny Memorial Team (Jennifer Garnett, Ezra Marcus, Katie McCarthy, Jordan Moran, Ivan Panchenko, Tom Ryan)
- Judges - Antonin Scalia (Supreme Court); Adalberto Jordan (Eleventh Circuit); Patricia Millett (D.C. Circuit)
- Best Overall Team & Best Brief - The Constance Baker Motley Memorial Team (Nikolas Bowie, Alison Deich, Dena Haibi, Lucas Issacharoff, Andrew Rohrbach, Kyle Wirshba)
- Best Oralist - Andrew Rohrbach
- Runner-Up - The Martin Ginsburg Memorial Team (Gerard Justin Cedrone, Jeremy M. Feigenbaum, Caitlin Halpern, Wookie Kim, Ashwin Phatak, Jillian Sheridan Stonecipher)
- Judges - Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Supreme Court); Ilana Diamond Rovner (Seventh Circuit); Merrick Garland (D.C. Circuit)
- Best Overall Team & Best Brief - The Gordon Hirabayashi Memorial Team (Yaira S. Dubin, Emma L. Freeman, Benjamin F. Jackson, Michael D. Lieberman, William H. Milliken, Michael J. Springer)
- Best Oralist - Emma L. Freeman
- Runner-Up - The William J. Stuntz Memorial Team (Ryan Doerfler, Cormac Early, Conor Mulroe, Josh Segal, Vivek Suri, Allison Trzop)
- Judges - David Souter (Supreme Court); Reena Raggi (Second Circuit); Mark Wolf (District Court of Massachusetts)
- Best Overall Team - The Belva Ann Lockwood Memorial Team (Caroline Anderson, Matthew Greenfield, Stephen Pezzi, Mitchell Reich, Stephanie Simon, Noah Weiss)
- Best Oralist - Matthew Greenfield
- Best Brief & Runner-Up - The Hon. John McCarthy Roll Memorial Team (Avis Bohlen, Adam Hallowell, Jessica Palmer, Yvonne Saadi, Matthew Scarola, Benjamin Watson)
- Judges - Sonia Sotomayor (Supreme Court), Frank H. Easterbrook (Seventh Circuit), Peter Rubin (Massachusetts Court of Appeals)
- Best Overall Team & Best Brief - The Hon. William Wayne Justice Memorial Team (Jason Harrow, Philip Mayor, Jason Murray, Amanda Rice, Zachary Schauf, Yujing Yue)
- Best Oralist - David Denton
- Runner-Up - The Griffin Bell Memorial Team (Dustin Cho, David Denton, Taylor Hathaway-Zepeda, Luke McCloud, Lindsay See, Benjamin Snyder)
- Judges - John Roberts (Supreme Court); Diana Murphy (Eighth Circuit); Julia Smith-Gibbons (Sixth Circuit)
- Best Overall Team - The Charles Sumner Memorial Team (Anna Fecker, Candyce Phoenix, Colleen Roh, Hillary Schrenell, Hagan Scotten, Tobias Tobler)
- Best Oralist - Hagan Scotten
- Best Brief & Runner-Up - The Clarence Darrow Memorial Team (Paul Bailin, Ryan Buschell, Nicolas Cornell, Kathryn Nielson, Ray Seilie, William Sullivan)
- Judges - Richard Posner (Seventh Circuit), Diane Wood (Seventh Circuit), Barrington Parker (Second Circuit)
- 2005 
- Best Overall Team - Paul A. Freund Team (Steve Demm, Meir Feder, Greg Nevins, Richard Rochman, Alicia Strohl, Jeffrey Wintner)
- Best Oralist - Richard Rochman
- BSA Website
- A Centennial History of Harvard Law
- 27 Harv. Women's L.J. 367 (2004), available here Archived June 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Past Winners of Ames Competition". Harvard Law School Board of Student Advisors.