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Each February law students from around the country assemble at Pace Law School to compete in The Jeffrey G. Miller Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition (NELMCC). Conceived by Pace Law students, the competition began in 1989 as a modest endeavor with 22 schools participating. It is the largest interschool moot court competition of any kind under one roof, regularly attracting in excess of 200 competitors from diverse law schools and 175 attorneys who serve as judges for the three days of oral arguments.
The competition provides a rigorous academic experience for the participants, testing skills in appellate brief writing and oral advocacy, involving issues drawn from real cases, and providing first-hand experience in environmental litigation. Competitors research and analyze current and challenging legal environmental issues, write persuasive arguments advocating how the issues should be resolved, argue the issues orally and have their performances evaluated and critiqued by practicing attorneys.
Teams write a brief for one of the three respective parties’ legal positions, and file their brief in late November/early December. Each brief is then graded for content, legal analysis and writing style, correct Bluebook legal citation, and formatting. The teams and coaches come to the Pace campus in February for the oral phase of the competition, where each team must argue all three sides, taking a different side during each of the three preliminary rounds. Switching sides in this way provides a tremendous intellectual workout for the competitors, as they must understand the legal arguments and strategies of all three sides and be able to deliver a persuasive argument on the position assigned in the round at hand.
Those with the highest combined scores for both the written brief and oral argument advance to succeeding rounds. Awards are conferred on the Winning Team, two Finalist Teams, Best Briefs (Best Brief Overall and Best Briefs for the remaining two sides), Best Oralist and Best Oralist-Honorable Mention.