Notre Dame College to Conduct Third Annual National Moot Court Scrimmage Oct. 7

Notre Dame College will present its Third Annual National Moot Court Scrimmage at the Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law just weeks after its team of students practiced their oral arguments before an esteemed panel led by the Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice, during a Constitution Day campus event.

More than 50 of the brightest prelaw students in the country, including those from Notre Dame, will convene in Cleveland to practice and polish their litigation and speaking skills during the national moot court contest from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, October 7,  at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

The event this year brings together 20 of the best college and university moot court teams from the United States and Canada to compete before panels of esteemed judges, attorneys and law professors. The undergraduate students engage in five practice rounds in preparation for the regional finals of the American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA) competition, which are held each November and December.

Judges at the National Moot Court Scrimmage feature not only representatives from the legal community and law schools but also from private and nonprofit communications industries and oral presentation education sectors.

During the scrimmage, students argue the current ACMA competition case, a hypothetical murder case for 2017-2018. In an appeals court hearing format, the moot court teams will address whether brain scan imaging violates a person’s right against self-incrimination protected by the Fifth Amendment and whether a sentence of solitary confinement violates the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the Eighth Amendment. The undergraduates prepare and practice both sides of the case during competitions.

To learn more about the National Moot Court Scrimmage in Cleveland, contact R. Eric Matthews Jr., Ph.D., associate dean of undergraduate programs, assistant professor of political science and moot court advisor at Notre Dame, or Gina Huffman, assistant director of admissions, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

Notre Dame Moot Court Demonstration

Notre Dame’s Constitution Day and Citizenship Day educational activities in 2017 featured a moot court demonstration during which a panel of esteemed judges and attorneys, led by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, mentored the College’s teams on campus.

Panelists were Geoffrey J. Ritts, J.D., partner, Jones Day, and trustee, Notre Dame College; Lee Fisher, J.D., dean and Joseph C. Hostetler-Baker Hostetler Chair in Law, Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law; Denise N. Rini, J.D, judge, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division; and Jennifer Lanz, J.D., former Notre Dame faculty member and founder of the College’s moot court program, who is known for her work on legal and judicial reform in the Middle East.

Following the demonstration, the Chief Justice said she was impressed with Notre Dame’s innovative approach to undergraduate legal education. She recognized the College’s moot court program as one of the more “intensive” programs in the country. She cited the scrimmage sessions as part of the quality education and training regimen.

While at Notre Dame for the Constitution Day event, Fisher said law schools look for students who are willing to take risks and learn from their mistakes. He applauded the College’s moot court team for showing “the bravery, courage and guts” to go before such a prestigious panel of law experts during the public demonstration of Constitutional law arguments. The Cleveland-Marshall College of Law is a co-sponsor of the National Moot Court Scrimmage.

Following the Constitution Day demonstration, Ritts complimented Notre Dame moot court students for “punching above your weight,” performing at a level comparable to students already in law school.

Chief Justice O’Connor’s Insights on Legal Education

Following the moot court demonstration at Notre Dame, the Chief Justice also shared insights on how understanding the justice system and legal issues gives students a “leg up on other job seekers.”

She said it prepares students for professions beyond law and legal departments, like in businesses, as CEOs as well as in finance, sales and research; in sports, film and fashion industries; and in law enforcement, politics and other forms of public service.

“Knowing the law and appreciating the rule of law can have an effect on people and gives them an inside track to their dreams,” she said.

The Chief Justice named several people with law degrees famous for accomplishments outside of legal fields, including Gandhi, Super Bowl quarterback and ESPN analyst Steve Young and Francis Scott Key, who wrote the lyrics for the National Anthem.

“Another boost to your career is a dedicated faculty and College leadership like the caliber you have here at Notre Dame,” she said. Her advice to all students is to set manageable goals and be sure to meet them, seek answers and challenge professors.

She also used a technology comparison to highlight the importance of understanding the legal system, saying “If society were a computer, the law would be the operating system.”

Notre Dame Moot Court Students and Program

In front of about 100 students, parents, faculty and community members, Notre Dame’s undergraduates argued points of law and answered tough questions from the panel regarding the current ACMA case, the same case to be argued during the National Moot Court Scrimmage.

Notre Dame moot court students who presented to the legal experts on campus during Constitution Day and are expected to take part in the National Moot Court Scrimmage are seniors Carter Daniels and Madison Flareau, junior Athena Eli and sophomore Cassidy Galbreath. Freshman Khalil Lambert also is a member of the team.

The students had only six classes this semester to study more than 750 pages of legal briefs and 20 different court cases before the demonstration. This is the fifth year for the program on campus, and twice Notre Dame has placed student teams in national moot court invitational competitions.

More than 90 percent of Notre Dame students who have participated in moot court have received scholarships to attend law schools like Georgetown, Michigan State, American University, Vermont and the University of West Virginia, as well as Ohio State and the Cleveland State Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

26 September 2017


About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master's degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or


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