American University Washington College of Law Hosts Dozens of Law School Teams for Moot Court Event

Annual Event Poses Critical 1st Amendment Questions to Law Students

This past weekend, the Moot Court Honor Society (MCHS) at American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) hosted the annual Burton Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court competition. The prestigious event, named in honor of former AUWCL professor Burton Wechsler, attracted thirty teams from law schools across the nation for a thrilling showdown on constitutional law.

Students listen to opening address at the 29th annual Burton Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court competition.

The central question of this year's competition revolved around the protection of abortion counseling as free speech in a fictional state that had banned most abortions. With this captivating topic in the spotlight, the participating teams showcased their legal prowess in appellate arguments.

On Sunday afternoon, the competition narrowed to a face-off between Michigan State University Law School and Florida State University Law School, culminating in a closely contested final round in the Weinstein Courtroom. The distinguished panel of final round judges included U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Tim Dyk of the Federal Circuit, U.S. District Judge and WCL alumnus Reggie Walton, and District of Columbia Court of Appeals Judge Loren AliKhan.

The successful execution of the annual Wechsler competition is due to the tireless effort and dedication of multiple individuals. Spearheading the endeavor were the Wechsler co-directors, Annabel Weinbach and Lauren Atkins, along with Moot Court President Patrick Crowley, and Vice-President Reed Widdoes. Executive Tournament Director Henessy Guerrero also played a crucial role in ensuring the event's success. Nearly two dozen other members of the WCL Moot Court provided essential support throughout the weekend, from guiding judges and competitors to their respective rooms to serving as courtroom bailiffs. This collective effort demonstrated the impeccable coordination among all participants.

Moot court participants prepare to go to the opening round of arguments.

Relying on the participation of approximately fifty judges, the competition was made possible thanks to the invaluable contributions of numerous alumni spanning several decades, as well as committed faculty members. Professors Elizabeth Keith, Jeff Lubbers, Gustavo Ribeiro, Thomas Williams, Camille Thompson, and Adjunct Professors Robert Hildum, Erin Pinder, Jeff Jacobovitz, and Eleanor Erney were among the faculty who dedicated their time. 

A moot court participant makes their case to the judges.

Members of the Moot Court Honor Society extend their gratitude to the law firms of Alston & Bird and Allen & Overy for their generous support of the Wechsler competition, further enhancing its prestige and reach in the legal community. Acknowledgment is also due to the various AUWCL offices and staff members who made the weekend's proceedings possible, including Facilities, Finance, Conference and Event Services, Sodexo catering, Audio-Visual, and Advocacy.

View more photos from the event here.

~Story by Brice Helms.