Moot description 

The Supreme Court of California Moot provides a venue for mooting cases scheduled for oral argument before the state high court, with the intent of aiding both advocates and the court by improving the quality of argument.

While cases that implicate state constitutional provisions are preferred, the center welcomes moot requests from counsel in all review granted cases. Due to their high degree of complexity and voluminous records, capital cases will not be considered.

Moots are provided as a public service at no cost on a non-partisan, first-come, first-served basis. Only one side of a case will be mooted. Moots generally will be held at Berkeley Law.

The mock “justices” of the moot are experienced practitioners, retired bench officers, and scholars who volunteer their time to maximize the advocate’s opportunity to deliver a convincing argument. The moot also will build familiarity with the court’s etiquette and procedures, as the moot will follow the same format used by the court.

The mock law clerks are law students who, as part of their work in the course, prepare a bench memorandum from the case materials. This bench memorandum is provided to the panelists along with the briefs.

Moot procedures

Cases are eligible for mooting once merits briefing is completed. Moots are held in November and April. Because this program operates on the academic calendar, invitations to participate in the moots are opened in July, for cases that are fully briefed at that point. In the 2012-13 term, the first year of the program, all of the moots were reserved within two days after the invitations issued. 

Once a case is accepted, counsel will provide a full set of the merits briefs, and any other material (such as record excerpts) that are necessary to a complete understanding of the issues presented.

The moot will be followed by a thorough debrief of both the substantive and skills issues arising from the argument. To maximize the benefit of the experience, counsel are expected to treat the moot as an actual appellate argument until the matter is submitted.

Center director: David A. Carrillo, J.S.D.