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Q: Are there any real-world benefits to being on Moot Court?

A: Yes! There are several benefits to being on moot court. First, it is a great opportunity to gain skills which will benefit you in both your summer internships and in practice. Membership on one of the appellate advocacy teams allows you to gain research, writing, and oral advocacy skills, while membership on either of the negotiation teams or the client counseling teams provide practical skills which translate to practice as an attorney.

Also, Holderness membership provides the opportunity to interact with UNC faculty and alumni, practicing attorneys, and judges. Faculty and practicing attorneys assist in helping our teams practice, and both practicing attorneys as well as current and past judges help judge the tournaments where we compete.

Q: Will being a member of Holderness help in my job search?

A: Yes! Being a member of Holderness is a wonderful resume addition, as well as a popular interview topic. It is also a way for potential employers to know that you have practiced certain skills as a law student.

Q: Will I get to go any interesting places as a member of Holderness?

A: Yes. Depending on which team you compete with, you could travel several different places and get to experience law schools, courthouses, etc. across the country. Teams have competed in the past at the 4th circuit federal courthouse in Richmond, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Miami, Florida; Williamsburg, Virginia; Atlanta, Georgia; and numerous other locations.

Also, every other year 4 members of Holderness go to London to compete in the Middle Temple competition. The years UNC students do not go to London, 4 students from London come to UNC to compete.

The Try-Out Process

Q: I’ve heard that Holderness Moot Court Tryouts occurred in the Spring of students’ 1L year?

A: Correct! Holderness Moot Court Tryouts will be held in the Spring semester of students’ 1L year. This competition will begin in February and continue into March.

Q: What are the dates for this year’s Holderness tryouts?

A: There are two components of Holderness tryouts. A written component taking place between February 13, 2019 and February 17, 2019 and an oral component (appellate argument, in addition to negotiation/client-counseling/arbitration tryouts) taking place between March 18, 2019 and March 22, 2019.

Q: How do I sign up for the Holderness writing competition?

A: Through My Carolina Law. Once you have registered, you will receive your competitor ID, which you will put on your brief instead of your name to ensure anonymity. Once you register, you will be able to download the competition packet once it becomes available and begin working on your brief.

Note: be sure to register to compete by Friday, February 1 at 11:59 p.m. At this point, registration via the website will close. If you encounter any problems with registration, please contact the Clerk of Court. Remember, registering does not obligate you to compete. You are only obligated to continue on to the oral/practical part of the competition once you submit your completed brief to this site.

Also, be sure to get on the Moot Court Tryout listserv to stay up-to-date and to receive important competition reminders. Email Rachel LaBruyere, Holderness Moot Court Clerk of Court at to be included in the listserv if you are not already.

Q: When I sign up, do I have to know for which Holderness teams I want to try out?

A: No, you don't need to know exactly what teams you'd like to go out for yet. As long as you write/submit the brief, you will be in the competition, and you can wait until March to fill out your team preferences and decide which of the oral advocacy/practical skills try outs you will need to sign up for.

When you sign up to try out for Moot Court, you will be able to rank as few as one or as many as seven (all of the possible teams) in the order of your preference. There will be a separate deadline posted on the website for submitting your team preferences online. Your preferences will be taken into consideration when Holderness selects the teams this Spring. You MUST include a team on your preference sheet in order to be considered for membership on that team.

Q: Will trying out for Holderness unduly interfere with classes and exam preparation?

A: No. We’ve made serious attempts to minimize disruption with classes and, certainly, with exam preparation. Holderness Tryouts occur in two stages. First, a “writing” component over five days, between Wednesday, February 13 - Sunday February 17. This component entails a “closed universe” problem in which all necessary (and allowable) research will already be made available to you. You just need to focus on writing a (relatively short) argument supporting your side. Second, an oral argument tournament occurs the week of March 18 - 22, 2019: all taking place in the afternoon and evening, to avoid any direct class conflicts. (The final round, between the two finalists, is an exception in that it will take place a noon on Wednesday, March 27, in the courtroom). 

Q: I only want to try out for one of Holderness’ negotiation teams, do I have to participate in the writing component, which seems geared toward traditional brief-writing?

A: Yes. All Holderness competitors must complete the writing component. However, those wanting to compete only for a spot on one of Holderness’ negotiation, client counseling, or arbitration teams do not need to compete in the traditional appellate oral argument competition. They can simply participate in the separate, short oral tryouts. However, be warned there are less positions open for these teams!

Q: I’m not sure what Holderness wants in terms of the written competition, will there be further information?

A: Yes. There will be instructions in the tryout packet you will be able to download online regarding the writing portion of the competition. It will contain instructions for what to include in your written submission, etc. The Clerk of Court, Rachel LaBruyere, will also be available via email to answer any questions you may have regarding the writing competition.

Being on Holderness and/or Law Review

Q: Do I have to choose now whether I want to be on Moot Court or Law Review?

A: The short answer is, “no.” Trying out for the Law School’s five journals takes place – through an online writing competition -- almost immediately after the end of Spring 2019 exams. Trying out for Holderness does not in any way disqualify or prevent you from also trying out for any of these journals. Holderness will not make offers until after the end of the joint journal writing competition.

Q: Once I get an offer from Holderness, won’t I be forced to accept/decline before I know whether I’m selected for a journal?

A: No. Although Holderness will make its offers prior to the journals’ selections, Holderness will not ask for anyone’s final decision until after the journals have made their decisions known, typically in mid-summer. Both we, and the journals, want you to have complete information on all of your options when you make your choices. Indeed, as to most of the journals, those receiving dual offers will be able to choose both, if that is what’s desired.

Q: In my 2L year, if I’m selected for both, can I participate in both Holderness and a journal?

A: Generally, the answer is, “yes,” although anyone accepted to both has a choice whether to do one or both. It is not uncommon in many law schools for 2Ls with such choices to elect to do both their 2L year. That said, at UNC there is a distinction between the North Carolina Law Review (UNC’s oldest journal), and the other four journals as to this choice. Because the UNC Law Review has the most demanding publication schedule of all of UNC’s journals, both the Journal and Holderness have made it impermissible to participate on both Holderness and the NC Law Review. On the other hand, because their publication schedules are not quite so non-stop, it is permissible to be a member of Holderness and to participate on the staff of any of the following journals: The NC Journal of International Law, the NC Banking Institute Journal, the NC Journal of Law and Technology, or the UNC First Amendment Law Review – assuming, of course, that you are given invitations to participate in both.

Q: What if I do both Holderness and a journal my 2L year, and love them both, but decide to try out for an editorial position at my journal, something the involves extra work, especially during my 3L year?

A: If you accept an journal editorial position, Holderness allows you to withdraw honorably after finishing all of your 2L-year Holderness obligations. Indeed, Holderness does not allow continued participation for those who become Editors-in-Chief (“EIC”) of their journal. Most of the other four journals, at this point, have not adopted rules prohibiting continued 3L participation in Holderness even though the student simultaneously will become a journal editor, nor do Holderness rules prohibit such “dual majoring.” That said, both 3L Holderness obligations and journal editing obligations can involve serious time commitments. Therefore, Holderness allows any member to withdraw honorably and in good standing from Holderness to pursue such a 3L option – again, of course, after completing that student’s full 2L Holderness obligations.

Obligations Once You Make a Holderness Moot Court Team

Q: What obligations will I need to fulfill as a 2L member of Holderness?

A: As a 2L member of Holderness, you will need to fulfill certain obligations to remain a member in good standing. These include: attending all meetings (unless you have an excuse that is approved by the Clerk of Court), helping judge RRWA oral arguments, assisting with grading briefs for the Craven competition, assisting with Holderness tryouts in the Spring (this includes grading written submissions and helping judge oral arguments) and competing in one interschool competition with your team (this excludes members of the Ayock and Craven Benches).

Q: What obligations will I need to fulfill as a 3L member of Holderness?

A: As a 3L member of Holderness, you will need to attend all meetings (unless you have an excuse that is approved by the Clerk of Court), assist with Holderness tryouts in the Spring (too a lesser degree that the 2L members), and compete with your team in an interschool competition (this excludes members of the Aycock and Craven Benches).

Q: If I complete all of my obligations to Holderness, do I receive any credit hours?

A: Yes. If you complete all of your requirements, you will receive TWO (2) credit hours spring semester of your 3L year. If you are on Holderness executive board, you will receive THREE (3) credits the spring semester of your 3L year.

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