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Fordham’s Moores Finish Intra-School Competition

Submitted by on September 17 – 2013No Comment

Juan Maldonado, winner of the best oralist, took the stand during the competition final.
–photo courtesy of Alex Guiterman

Every fall the Brendan Moore Trial Advocacy Center hosts its intra-school competition at Fordham University School of Law. The Moores compete on a national level in approximately fifteen competitions every year. Students earn a spot on the team through the summer or fall intra-school competitions and are required to complete the fall competition even if they’re accepted in the summer to keep their spots on the team and qualify to compete against other law schools. Competitors are judged on presence and composure in the courtroom, ability to argue factual inferences, apply facts to legal problems, advocate persuasively, and understand and apply the rules of evidence based on a preliminary reading.

On September 9th, the Moore Advocates held its final round of the competition. This year’s judge was Justice Peter B. Skelos, Presiding Judge for the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department. James Kainen, Director of the Moore Advocacy Center, gave opening and closing statements. The trial involved the murder of a judge, and Mary Gibbons and Sarah Bookin, for the prosecution, argued that defendant was a “desperate man” driven to the “desperate measure” of shooting the judge to collect on a debt. Juan Maldonado and Katherine Mccabe, for the defense, countered that an unseemly mix of greed and political ambition drove the judge to draw her weapon first, forcing the defendant to fire in self-defense. The defense won the tournament, and the best advocate award went to Juan Maldonado.

Both Maldonado and Mccabe thought the most exciting and nerve-wracking moment of the competition was competing in front of Associate Justice Skelos. Even though Maldonado had prior experience on a debate team in high school and Mccabe did mock trial as an undergraduate at Fordham for four years, Maldonado described himself as “oscillating between panic and excitement the whole time” as he delivered his statements before Justice Skelos, his peers, and Moore alumni.

In each preliminary round, the general competition requires that competitors deliver an opening from the prosecution of the defense, and the opposing side’s closing. Immediately, Mccabe and Maldonado divided up who would do each closing and opening and then developed a case theory and questions for their respective witnesses’ testimony. Juan explained that creating an outline their closings, instead of a prepared closing speech, gave them “flexibility in addressing any facts relevant to the particular round they participated in.” Both Mccabe and Maldonado emphasized the importance of teamwork in preparing for the competition. Mccabe suggested “the more you and your partner work together and look out for each other the better you’ll both do in the competition.”

For more information about the Brendan Moore Trial Advocacy Center and Trial Ad Team, please visit http://law.fordham.edu/brendan-moore-trial-advocacy-center/moore.htm.

–Danielle Effros, staff writer

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