During the first week of November, the Association gathers to host its annual moot court competition. Like previous years, this year's competition attracted teams from across the country, ranging from New York to California, and included many teams from Chicago-area schools. Consistent with the Association's goals of promoting excellence and civility in appellate practice, the competition affords law students the opportunity to prepare briefs on novel legal issues and present oral arguments before esteemed jurists in a collegial environment.
This year's problem asked the competitors to argue a complicated issue involving the extraterritorial reach of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute. The problem required the students to understand the three different approaches adopted by the federal district courts in answering such an inquiry. On a more practical level, participants were asked to address whether, under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule
11, a letter to an opposing counsel requesting that a frivolous pleading be withdrawn was sufficient to comply with Rule 11's procedural requirements, or whether Rule 11 requires strict compliance and a request for sanctions to be brought in a separate motion.
As in years past, both the final bench and semifinal rounds consisted of a who's who of judges and appellate practitioners. Judge William J. Bauer of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Judge Edmond E. Chang of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and Judge William E. Holdridge of the Illinois Appellate Court, Third District, presided over the final round. Judges for the semifinal rounds included Judge Maureen E. Connors of the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, Association President and former Illinois Solicitor General Michael Scodro, and former Association president Steven F. Pflaum. Many Association members graciously served as judges for the preliminary rounds. In the final round, two local schools went toe-to-toe, as Justin Joffe and Matthew Smart of the Chicago-Kent College of Law narrowly bested Patrick Simonaitis, Haley Wasserman, and Michael Ovca of the Northwestern University School of Law. The Association also recognized various individual achievements, including best oralist during the preliminary, semifinal, and final rounds.
The Association congratulates all participants for their hard work and superior advocacy, the Association's Moot Court Committee for organizing the popular competition, and the Association members and others who served as judges.