D.C. Cup Moot Court Schedule and Rules


October 18, 2019 - Schools submit team participant names 

November 1, 2019 - Problem release and team assignments 

November 15, 2019 – Last day to submit requests for interpretation and clarification. 

January 17, 2020 - Brief submissions due by 11:59pm 

February 21, 2020 - Preliminary Rounds I & II 

February 28, 2020 - Final Round and Awards Ceremony 



As a participant or contributor of any work performed on behalf of the D.C. Cup Moot Court Competition, all work produced including written materials, content, photos or information submitted by you to the D.C. Bar shall become the property of the D.C. Bar for its future use.  


The District of Columbia Bar Communities Office sponsors the D.C. Cup Moot Court Competition. The competition is conducted under the supervision of the Moot Court Competition Committee. The committee has authority to interpret the competition rules, to resolve any complaints or disputes in connection with the competition, and to amend these rules. Decisions of the committee about any aspect of this competition are final.


1. A team consists of two members. (Schools must submit team participant names by October 11, 2019 to [email protected]. Subject line: "D.C. Cup Moot Court Competition Team Participants.)

2. Team members must be matriculated in a full or part-time program in the law school they represent.

3. No team member may have completed a law degree (JD or equivalent) before March 8, 2020.

4. A law school may enter only one team.

5. There will be no substitution of team members after a team has submitted its brief, except upon the written consent of the committee pursuant to a petition for substitution based on good cause.

6. Please note: Team numbers are randomly assigned and communicated to the schools with release of the problem.


1. Each team will be randomly assigned to write a brief for either the appellant or the appellee.

2. Briefs shall conform to the Rules of the D.C. Court of Appeals, except as modified by these rules. A formal statement of jurisdiction is optional. All citations must be complete, and in the format prescribed by the latest edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.

3. Briefs will be scored on a scale of 150 points. Scholarly research, presentation of concise and cogent arguments, and writing style will account for 125 points of the score, and technical matters (including timeliness) will account for the remaining 25 points. The brief score will remain constant throughout the competition and will be weighted equally with oral argument scores to determine a team's aggregate score for each round.

4. The names of the law school or the competitors must not appear anywhere in the brief. The cover page of the brief must state only the team number.

5. By submitting briefs, teams consent to publication of their briefs online and in print, and agree to assign copyright ownership to The District of Columbia Bar. 


1. No team may receive any assistance in the writing of its brief. This rule shall not prevent the faculty, administration, other students, or attorneys from participating with team members in general discussions of the problem.

2. After the brief has been filed, teams may receive assistance in the preparation of their oral arguments;however, this assistance is limited to judging and critiquing oral argument practices. Competitors are solely responsible for argument formulation and strategy.

3. As part of the certification required to file briefs, each team member will attest that the team's brief is solely the result of the named team members' efforts and that the team members did not receive faculty or other outside assistance contrary to the provisions of this section.


1. The submission deadline for briefs is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 17, 2020.

2. Each team shall email an electronic copy of the brief suitable for posting on the competition's site, in both Adobe PDF and Microsoft Word format.

3. The electronic version of the briefs must be sent via e-mail to the competition coordinator at [email protected](Subject line: Team (#) –Appellant [or Appellee, if applicable] Brief). The file name for the documents should be in this format: DC_Cup123_Brief.pdf and DC_Cup123_Brief.docx, where "123" represents the team number. The body of the message to which the file is attached should identify the team number, the name of the school, the names of the team members, and the side on whose behalf the brief was written —appellant or appellee.

4. The committee will post a copy of each team's brief on the competition's site after the submission deadline. Teams need not serve copies of their briefs upon one another.

5. A brief may not be corrected, revised, or supplemented after it has been submitted to the committee.

6. A penalty of five (5) points will be deducted from the total brief score for each day that a brief is late. Briefs submitted more than seven (7) days late will not be accepted and the team will be disqualified. A penalty of two (2) points will be deducted from the total brief score for failure to comply with the submission and/or formatting procedures.


1. Preliminary oral arguments will be held in Washington, D.C., on February 21, 2020.

2. Each team will be allowed 30 minutes for argument in each round. Each team may use reasonable discretion in allocating the 30 minutes between two team members, with each member being allocated no less than 10 minutes. The team representing the appellant may reserve up to 5 minutes of its time for rebuttal by addressing a request to the moot court at the commencement of argument. Before commencement of oral argument, each team must advise the moot court clerk of the allocation of time between its members. The team will be responsible for tracking time between its speakers. The moot court may interrupt argument for questions and in its discretion may allow additional time.

3. Clerks will signal by card when five (5) minutes and two (2) minutes remain in the time allotted for each team's argument and at the expiration of the time allowed.

4. Team members will announce their names and team number at the beginning of the argument, but MUST not reveal the name of their law school. Judges must neither ask nor know the identity of the teams arguing before them either before or after grading the arguments. To minimize the likelihood that judges will learn the identity of teams, advisors, and other persons accompanying a team must not associate with team members in the courtroom or elsewhere while in view of judges. Advisors and other persons accompanying a team should not be present in a courtroom if their presence is likely to compromise the anonymity of one or both competing teams.

5. In determining the scores, judges may not take into consideration the merits of the case.

6. Judges may not disclose winners or scores to anyone other than the committee or its designee. They may comment on the performance of speakers or teams after the scores have been submitted for tabulation.

7. During a round, only the team members may sit at the counsel table. Other persons from the same law school may be present in the room but may not be seated with, and may not confer with those seated at the counsel table. If the judges provide a critique at the conclusion of a round, only the team members may be present in the room during the critique.

8. The committee may direct that any round or portions of a round be recorded or transmitted using any medium now known or later developed. By participating in the competition, all teams consent to such recording or transmission.

9. All teams should be prepared to argue both sides.


1. Each team will argue in one preliminary round. The committee will pair teams through a random selection process.

2. Scoring. In each preliminary round, each student who argues will be scored on a scale of 100 points. The team's oral argument score will be the average of the individual team members' scores. The team's oral argument score will then be added to its brief score to determine its aggregate score. The two teams (one representing the appellant and one representing the appellee) with the lowest aggregate scores will be eliminated from the competition and the remaining four teams will advance to the semifinal round. Ties will be broken in favor of the team having the higher brief score.

3. Pairings and side selection. A seeding chart for the four teams advancing to the semifinal round will pair teams with the highest aggregate score against the team with the lowest aggregate score from the preliminary round and then the remaining two teams will be paired.


Final round oral arguments will be held in Washington, D.C., on February 28, 2020. The teams (one representing the appellant and one representing the appellee) with the highest score will advance to the final round. The team with the highest aggregate final score will be the competition winner.


All competitors are required to conduct themselves in a responsible and professional manner in preparing briefs, presenting oral arguments, and throughout the entirety of the competition process. The committee will investigate and resolve any reported infractions of these rules. Every participating school and its representatives are bound by these rules.


1. The committee will make all necessary interpretations of the rules and the record on appeal. All questions must be submitted to the committee via e-mail no later than November 15, 2019.

2. All requests for interpretation should be sent to [email protected]. Subject line: Request for Interpretation D.C. Cup Moot Court Competition.

3. The committee will only issue interpretations and clarifications that it deems necessary via a single email to all teams. Such interpretations and clarifications will be final.


Advancing team members to the competition's final round will be posted on the competition Web site. 


Certificates will be awarded to all participating teams. Plaques will be awarded to the team with the overall highest scoring brief and to the best oral advocate as determined by oral argument scores in the preliminary round. The competition winner will be awarded a trophy and will be announced during the awards reception at the completion of the competition. The law school of the winning team will house the trophy until the next competition where they will be invited to return for the presentation to next year's winner. An announcement about the competition and its results will be published in The Washington Lawyer and on the D.C. Bar's Web site,


Each team is presumed to have received any competition mailing or e-mail addressed to the contact person indicated on the team's registration form. Teams are responsible for providing and updating their contact person's current e-mail address.


Participation in this competition as a team member or in any other capacity constitutes consent to be recorded, including without limitation by audio, video, and still images. Participants understand that such recordings may be distributed by means of a variety of media, formats, and contexts, and that this may occur during the competition and afterward. Participants waive all claims for any compensation and for any damages or other remedies in connection with such recordings and the use of the recordings by the District of Columbia Bar.