By Laws and Rules
Last Amended: 06/2/2015
I. Description and Purpose:
A. The Rutgers Moot Court Board (hereinafter "the Board") is an autonomous student-run organization dedicated to promoting superior advocacy skills. The Board sponsors and coordinates various competitions including the Nathan Baker Mock Trial Competition and the David Cohn Appellate Advocacy Competition.
B. The Board's duties include developing competition problems and administering the mock trial and appellate advocacy competitions. In addition, the Board endeavors to field teams representing Rutgers School of Law-Newark in regional and national mock trial and other moot court competitions. The Board encourages school-wide student participation in the Moot Court Board and its programs.
II. Structure of the Board
A. Co-Chairs: The Board shall have two Co-Chairs. The Co-Chairs shall be responsible for: coordinating the Board's activities; scheduling Board meetings; drafting the Board's calendar; delegating academic, administrative, and other tasks; acting as liaisons between the Board and the Law School faculty and administration; and recommending academic credit for Board Members. In addition, the Co-Chairs shall oversee disciplinary matters.
B. Board Officers: The Board shall also have a Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and PR Officer. Board Officers must have one year left to be elevated.
1. Secretary: The Secretary’s duties shall include calculating and compiling the data to determine to whom membership shall be offered, calculating the scores for both the Cohn and Baker competitions, and organizing the grading of LAWRS oral arguments, both for day students in the spring and for night students in the spring. The Secretary will also oversee office hours and give weekly assignments to 2L members. The Secretary’s duties may be expanded or limited at the discretion of the Co-Chairs..
2. Treasurer: The Treasurer’s duties shall include keeping track of the finances of the Board, establishing a budget for each semester with the Co-Chairs, ensuring that vendors are paid, and filling out and submitting all reimbursement vouchers. The Treasurer’s duties may be expanded or limited at the discretion of the Co-Chairs
3. Vice Chair: The Vice Chair’s duties shall include announcing to the general student body opportunities for extramural competition, soliciting applications, selecting participants (in collaboration with the Co-Chairs), and facilitating student participation in each competition. The Vice Chair’s duties shall also include soliciting and scheduling judges for both intramural competitions. The Alumni Liaison’s duties may be expanded or limited at the discretion of the Co-Chairs. The Outside Competition Chairperson’s duties may be expanded or limited at the discretion of the Co-Chairs.
4. PR Officer: The Webmaster’s duties shall include maintaining the Moot Court Board website and attending to any technology-related issues. The Webmaster’s duties may be expanded or limited at the discretion of the Co-Chairs.
C. General Membership: The General Membership shall be comprised of those persons, both second- and third-year day students and night-student equivalents, who have completed Legal Analysis, Writing, & Research Seminar (LAWRS), who are not serving as either the Co-Chairs or Officers of the Board. All General Members must participate in at least one competition, either the Nathan Baker Mock Trial Competition or the David Cohn Appellate Advocacy Competition. They shall also be responsible for completing all academic and administrative tasks assigned by the Co-Chairs. All Board members must be active on the Board for at least two semesters. The 3L/4LE credit requirement may be fulfilled through active board membership for at least 1 semester or participation in an outside competition, including national team competitions, or participation in the Baker Competition during 3L/4LE fall.p;
D. Membership on the Board, unless terminated otherwise, shall be considered to terminate on the first reading day of the Spring semester after which the respective member is to graduate. Members may be terminated at the discretion of the co-chairs, subject to review by the MCB faculty advisor.
III. Selection of the Board
A. General Membership: The General Membership of the Board shall be selected each summer from among those incoming second-year day students and evening student equivalents demonstrating high achievement in written and oral advocacy skills.
Commencing in the Summer of 2014, the General Members shall be selected through an audition process which shall take place on a weekend following the conclusion of the Rutgers’ journal’s write-on competition.
The Moot Court Board shall release a problem prior to the start of auditions, which shall illustrate which oral advocacy skills the members must perform at the audition, which shall include either or both trial advocacy skills and appellate advocacy skills. Decisions as to which problem is utilized and which skills the student shall be evaluated on shall be decided by the Co-Chairs and communicated to the students in the instruction portion of the problem packet.
No more than twenty (20) members shall be selected for Membership of the Board from the auditions.
In the event that an “argue-on” competition cannot be held, selection will be at the discretion of the Board. In this event, the Board will have the discretion to select members based on an applicant’s LAWRS grade, statement of interest, and resume.
The General Members shall be selected after their LAWRS oral arguments. The Board will, whenever possible, notify those students selected to be General Members before the due date of resumes for on-campus interviews. All students selected as General Members shall be notified in time to register for the Board in order to receive academic credit.
In addition, the Co-Chairs have the sole discretion to select individual competitors from the Nathan Baker Mock Trial and/or David Cohn Appellate Advocacy Competitions for immediate membership on the Board.
1. Selection Criteria:
Board membership shall be determined by both Co-Chairs, and a selection committee of their choosing, which shall consist of the General Membership of the Board.
Board members shall be selected based upon their Legal Research & Writing appellate brief, as graded by their Legal Research & Writing Professors, and upon their oral advocacy skills, as graded by Board Members at the summer audition, in the following proportion:
-Appellate Brief: 40%
-Oral Advocacy Skills: 60%
2. Selection Through Competitions: In addition, the Co-Chairs have the sole discretion to select individual competitors from the Nathan Baker Mock Trial and/or David Cohn Appellate Advocacy Competitions for membership on the Board. The Co-Chairs shall not extend membership to more than three (3) students based upon their performance in either of the Board Competitions.
3. Transfer Students: The Co-Chairs, in their sole discretion, may select up to two (2) members from transfer students applying to the Board. Transfer students must be entering their second year of the day program or the equivalent of the evening program.
Transfer student applicants should submit the following materials in consultation with the Co-Chairs and the Rutgers Law School Dean of Admissions:
-A completed Moot Court Board application form;
-An unedited copy of any trial or appellate brief submitted in a Legal Research and Writing course or its equivalent;
-A letter of recommendation from a Legal Research and Writing faculty member or their equivalent who can speak to the applicant’s legal writing and analytical abilities.
4. Notification of Offer of General Membership: General Members shall be notified before the start of Fall classes. Board members shall be selected from second-year day students and the equivalent night students, and only such students will be permitted to compete for open positions on the Board. The Board will, whenever possible, notify those students selected to be General Members before the due date of resumes for on-campus interviews. All students selected as General members shall be notified in time to register for the Board in order to receive academic credit.
IV. Selection of the Executive Board
A. The Co-Chairs and all Officers shall have participated on the Board for one semester prior to their nomination. They shall be chosen in the following manner:
1. Any Member can nominate any other Member, including him or herself, for any Officer position during the period for nomination designated by the Co-Chairs and shall have the right to withdraw his or her name from nomination.
2. Elections shall be held in the Spring semester after the David Cohn Appellate Advocacy Competition..
3. Elections of board members shall be completed as follows: 2L/3LEs will vote individually, the current board shall have votes equal to 1/2 of the number of votes that the 2L/3LE class has (rounding down in the event of an odd number). Each board member shall cast an individual vote weighted proportionally to their share of the 1/2 weighted vote. Current board members shall vote after the completion of the 2L/3LE vote, knowing the outcome. In the event of a tie, the Co-Chairs shall break the tie.
4. All Board Members eligible to vote shall be notified of the nominations in writing prior to elections.
5. Voting may be done electronically.
6. All Board Members shall vote for two Co-Chairs and other Officers.
7. The outgoing Co-Chairs shall oversee the election. They will count the ballots and will announce the incoming Co-Chairs and other Officers as soon after the elections as is practicable.
8. The incoming Co-Chairs and other Board Officers shall take office on the first reading day of the Spring semester in which they are elected.
9. Co-Chairs and other Board Officers shall serve in their office for a period of one year.
V. Academic Credit
A. Each second-year Board Member or evening student equivalent must register for one (1) Moot Court Board credit per semester for participation on the Board.
Each third-year Board member or evening student equivalent must make themselves available a minimum of twenty (20) hours of MCB related work throughout the course of his or her 3L/4LE year in order to maintain good standing with the Board. These twenty (20) hours are not to satisfy academic credit, but is only to determine if the member graduates in good standing. Members must log all of their hours and submit same to the Co-Chairs at the end of each semester. 3L/4LE Members who compete in an outside competition or the Nathan Baker Mock Trial Competition do not have to fulfill the twenty (20) hour substantive work requirement provided that they do not earn credit for their competition. Members who do not complete this requirement may have their membership revoked at the Co-Chairs’ sole discretion..
Third year students may take one (1) Board academic credit during their second year on the Board by registering for Moot Court Board and satisfying the requirements for academic credit set forth below.
To satisfy the academic requirements for credit, each Board member must complete forty-five (45) hours of SUBSTANTIVE academic work for the Board per credit, document the work as set forth below and otherwise satisfy the Moot Court Board obligations.
Documenting the substantive academic work for academic credit shall be done as follows: Substantive work hours shall be recorded contemporaneously on a log sheet distributed by the Co-Chairs at the beginning of each semester. Log sheets shall be signed by each Board member and submitted for review and approval at the end of each semester. Board members that do not complete and log 45 hours of substantive work will not have completed the requirements to receive academic credit and will not receive a passing grade..
1. Substantive Work: Substantive academic work as determined by the law school includes, but is not limited to:
a. Participation as a competitor in the Nathan Baker Mock Trial Competition and/or the David Cohn Appellate Advocacy Competition;
b. Completion of work related to construction of the problem for the Nathan Baker Mock Trial competition and/or the David Cohn Appellate Advocacy Competition;
c. Grading briefs in connection with competitions;
d. Attendance at the Trial Skills or Appellate Advocacy Workshops;
e. -Assisting any outside competition team in their preparation for each competition;
f. Preparation of the Board summer membership audition problem;
Any question about what satisfies the academic work requirement should be directed to the Co-Chairs or the faculty advisor.
B. Mandatory Participation in Competitions: In order to obtain academic credit, each second-year day student Board or evening student equivalent member must participate in one of the following tracks with obligations outlined accordingly:
Fall: Compete in the Nathan Baker Mock Trial Competition
Spring: Participate in preparing the David Cohn Appellate Competition.
Fall: Participate in preparing the Nathan Baker Mock Trial Competition.
Spring: Compete in the David Cohn Appellate Advocacy Competition
Any Board member receiving Moot Court Board credit is not eligible to earn any additional Intramural Mock Trial or Moot Court Competition credit for his or her participation in the Nathan Baker Mock Trial Competition and/or the David Cohn Appellate Advocacy Competition.
In the event that a second year or evening student equivalent student is unable to participate in the Nathan Baker Mock Trial Competition due to a limitation imposed on the number of teams, that member shall not be compelled to participate in the David Cohn Appellate Advocacy Competition, but must still satisfy the requirements for receiving academic credit set forth above. Instead, that member can fulfill his or her competition requirement in the Fall of their third year (or equivalent year for evening students) and complete additional substantive work to satisfy the academic requirement. Board Members “lotteried out” shall have first preference in the competition the following year..
C. Administrative Duties: In addition to the academic requirement, each second year day student Board member or evening student equivalent Board member will be required to perform a variety of administrative duties. These duties include but are not limited to: remaining in the Moot Court Board office to answer phone calls and e-mails, servicing as bailiff for the Nathan Baker or David Cohn Competitions, inviting, coordinating, and scheduling judges and competitors for the competitions, and completing any such duties as may be necessary for the proper discharge of all Board responsibilities..
The Co-Chairs shall advise the Faculty Advisor when a member does not satisfy his or her obligations as to Board membership as required for Moot Court Board credit. The Co-Chairs shall additionally retain the right to revoke Board membership from any Member whom the Co-Chairs determine has not fulfilled his or her administrative duties..
The Board has the discretion to form committees, including, but not limited to, a Competition Problem Committee, an Outside Competition Committee, a Correspondence Committee, a Judge Assignment Committee, and/or a Fundraising Committee. Upon the creation of a committee, the Co-Chairs have the discretion to outline the powers of the committee.
VI. National Team Selection Process
1. National Mock Trial Team: The Board selects and sponsors the National Mock Trial Team, which consists of up to six (6) students who make up two (2) teams, which compete in the National Trial Competition in Philadelphia each February.
The Board and faculty advisor shall have the discretion to offer spots on the National Mock Trial Team to individual competitors in the Nathan Baker Mock Trial Competition based on performance, including written and oral advocacy skills. .
The remaining students needed to comprise a team of six (6) shall be selected through an audition process, during the Fall semester. Students will be given a problem prior to the audition date which shall outline which trial advocacy skills must be performed at the audition. At a minimum, students should be required to prepare and deliver a short opening statement, a short direct examination, and a short cross-examination. The Moot Court Board shall provide witnesses for the auditions and the head coaches shall have the final say on the audition process. No student may audition for the National Mock Trial Team unless they have taken Evidence..
In the event that following the Nathan Baker Mock Trial Competition and the audition there are additional spots on the National Team, the Board and the national team head coach have the discretion to select additional team members..
The selection committee shall consist of: one or both co-chairs, the National Team head coach, the National Team assistant coach, faculty advisors, and a representative from a prior National Mock Trial Team, if possible. Any National Team consisting of 2L/3LE members who competes in the National Trial Competition Philadelphia Regional and/or Finals, may be invited to be a part of the National Mock Trial Team the following year without having to audition or compete in the Baker Trial Competition. This decision shall be solely at the discretion of the head coach.
VII. Hard Credit for National Teams
1. National Mock Trial Team: The students selected for the National Mock Trial Team shall register and take Trial and Evidence Strategies, a two (2) credit course [hard credits]. The class shall begin during Winter Recess and end the week prior to the regional competition. A student selected for the National Team who has not taken the pre-requisite for the Evidence Strategies class, will receive credit for the class only upon the faculty member teaching the class waiving the pre-requisite. .
2. National Appellate Team: The three (3) students selected for the National Appellate Team must register and take Appellate Advocacy Strategies, a two (2) credit course [hard credits].
VIII. Nathan Baker Mock Trial Competition
1. Team Limit and Preference: The Nathan Baker Mock Trial Competition shall be limited to a total of twelve (12) teams. Non-MCB members seeking to participate in the Nathan Baker Trial Competition are required to have either taken Evidence or be currently enrolled in Evidence. In the event that more than 12 teams register, preference to teams shall be decided as follows:
a) Teams on which one or both students are 3L/4LE MCB members that were “lotteried out” the prior year;
b) Teams on which both students have taken evidence and/or trial presentation/evidentiary issues at trial;
c)Teams on which one student has taken and the other is currently enrolled in, evidence and/or trial presentation/evidentiary issues at trial;
d) All other teams in order of registration.
2. 2. Attendance at Trial Skills and Appellate Advocacy Workshop: Every student enrolled in the Nathan Baker Mock Trial Competition must attend the Trial Advocacy Workshop. Every student enrolled in the David Cohn Appellate Advocacy Competition must attend the Appellate Skills Workshop. Absence will be excused only in extreme and/or emergent circumstances..
IX. Disciplinary Matters
A. A. The Moot Court Board is an autonomous organization that reserves the right to handle any disciplinary matters that arise in relation to the Board's competitions and other activities.
B. All disciplinary matters arising from Board activities shall be handled by the Co-Chairs and such Board Officers as may be appointed by the Co-Chairs.
C. At anytime, a Co-Chair or other Board Officer may be impeached and removed, for improper activity or seriously inadequate performance of duties as a Co-Chair or other Officer of the Moot Court Board.
1. Impeachment and removal of a Co-Chair or other Officer shall be commenced by the submission to at least one Co-Chair of a petition signed by either half the Officers or half of the General Membership. The impeachment petition must state the Officers’ or Members’ basis for seeking removal of the Officer named therein..
2. Within two weeks of submission of the impeachment petition, the Board must hold a meeting in Rutgers School of Law-Newark to conduct the removal vote on the impeached Officer. This meeting shall require a two-thirds quorum of the Board. The removal vote shall be conducted by secret ballot and a two-thirds majority of the Members and Officers present shall be sufficient for removing the impeached Officer..
3. In the event that an Officer resigns or is removed from office under the procedures described in these By-laws and Rules, the Co-Chair(s) shall within two weeks arrange and conduct an election pursuant to the procedures described in Article III, Section B.
D. All Members of the Moot Court Board are bound by the Honor Code and the Rutgers University Student Disciplinary Code of the Law School as provided in the Student Handbook (hereinafter "the Codes"). All Board Members are required to perform all designated and assigned tasks and responsibilities. Inactive Board membership shall not be tolerated. Any member who fails or refuses to fulfill his or her duties, or who is found to have violated the Codes, may be denied academic credit. Decisions to deny credit shall be made by the Co-Chairs. Any member who is to be denied credit shall be notified in writing and permitted to dispute the proposed denial..
E. All persons who participate in Board-sponsored competitions shall be required to conduct themselves in accordance with the Codes and any other applicable standards of professional conduct. All competitors shall be notified in writing of this requirement, as part of the competition materials, before they compete. In addition, competition materials shall set forth the procedures for complaints, investigations, and penalties. The Co-Chairs shall establish such procedures. In the event that competition rules are to be changed from those of the previous year, the Co-Chairs shall consult with the faculty advisor, but shall not be bound by the advice of the faculty advisor.
X. Amending These By-Laws
A. The Co-Chairs may, at any time, call a meeting of the Board to discuss and/or vote on any proposed amendments to these by-laws. A two-thirds majority of all Board Members (second- and third-year day students and evening student equivalents), voting either in person or by electronic means, shall be sufficient to amend these by-laws. ;
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