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Aspiring Law Students to Come to Buffalo for UB's Moot Court Competition

By Ilene Fleischmann

Release Date: March 26, 2009

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Law students from around the country will sharpen their courtroom techniques during Saturday's annual National Criminal Law Moot Court Competition hosted by the University at Buffalo Law School's Criminal Law Society held this year in the Erie County Courthouse.

The national competition, known as the Herbert Wechsler National Criminal Law Moot Court Competition and named after the legal scholar who drafted the Model Penal Code, is the only national moot court in the United States on topics in substantive criminal law.

Twenty-five teams from across the country will compete this year, including two teams from UB's Law School. The competition will continue throughout the day; the final round is scheduled to begin around 4 p.m. in the Ceremonial Courtroom. Among the teams coming to Buffalo to compete are law students from Brooklyn, Duke, University of Connecticut, Santa Clara University, University of Denver, University of Detroit, Ohio State University, University of Houston, Loyola Chicago and University of North Dakota.

This year's legal problems address the constitutionality and interpretation of federal and state criminal statutes, as well as general issues in the doctrine of federal and state criminal law. This year's problem questions whether a district court's jury instruction on corporate criminal liability -- a theory that enables the government to criminally prosecute a corporation for the illegal acts of its employees -- was legal under Supreme Court precedent and federal law.

Final round judges include Justice Eugene F. Pigott Jr., associate justice of the New York State Court of Appeals, who is judging for the third year in a row; retired Court of Appeals Justice George Bundy Smith, Erie County Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dillon and Federal Magistrate Judge Jonathan Feldman.

The competition is free and open to the public.