Story by Evan Fine


Honors Moot Court Internal CompetitionSanta Clara Law recently wrapped up its latest Honors Moot Court (HMCI) competition this month where, after fierce courtroom debates, our champions emerged victorious! 

The Honors Moot Court is a highly selective honors internal competition where our students brief legal issues and argue on appeal before the Supreme Court of the United States. Upper-division students (2Ls and above) work in teams of two and compete against other teams, arguing issues before panels of distinguished attorneys and judges. Each team’s brief and oral arguments are scored, and the top teams advance through four rounds of oral arguments. The program is supervised by faculty advisor and professor Melody Sequoia.

The case is written each year by the HMCI Board, which, this year, comprised of 3L students. The case is the fact pattern and legal issue that sets the stage for the rest of the program. This year, 28 upper-division students were selected to participate in the HMCI program, which consists of a weekly class, writing a brief, and engaging in oral arguments.

“The competition started out with 14 very talented teams and we knew this would be quite competitive,” Diana Gierwielaniec 2L says. “I really pushed myself to do something that scared me and pushed me out of my comfort zone this semester, so it was a rewarding experience to watch the hard work and preparation pay off. One thing that is super important in the competition is having a supportive partner/co-counsel. We both were supportive of one another and helped each other strengthen our oral advocacy skills.”

Together with her partner and co-counsel, Kathryn Rankin 2L, Diana was awarded and recognized for academic excellence in the HMCI class, and the duo was awarded Second-Best Brief; the distinction of Best Brief fell to the duo of Leor Chechik 3L and Ajit Bhullar 2L. Rankin, Alyson Smock 2L, Linden Dexter 3L, Taylor LaFrancis-Garcia 3L, and Aaron Stromberg 2L were also all recognized as Best Oral Advocates!

These successes come in the same month as news of our students’ accomplishments at the 2024 ABA Client Counseling Competition. TheABA Client Counseling Competition Competition, hosted by the American Bar Association, similarly features a competition structure based around a fact pattern that competitors must argue. This year, our teams have once again presented their exceptional client counseling skills, earning remarkable achievements in the Regional Competition and National Competition.

Ayaka Chin 2L and Kylie Kovach 3L clinched first place overall in the Regional Competition; they were one of 12 teams to advance to the National Competition at Louisiana State University out of 86 total teams. Although they didn’t advance to the finals, they not only got the highest score in the country on their memo, but also received the only perfect score on it.

In addition, Eduardo Fisher 3L and Joseph Pangrazio 2L displayed incredible talent in the Regional Competition, achieving third place overall! This is the first time in our school’s history that both of our teams have advanced to the Regional Finals.

For those interested in litigation, these moot court competitions are a must, as they help build confidence and communication skills and reinforce and build upon technical skills like research, writing, and oral advocacy.

Thank you to all of our Guest Lecturers, Panelists, Faculty Graders, Round Judges, advising professors, alumni advisors, and competitions managers for their invaluable support; and congratulations to all of our outstanding students!