Moot Court gift can help cadets develop important skills

The Academy’s moot court program, coordinated through the Department of Law, has been ranked ninth in the country. In its sixth year, the program has won four regional championships, many individual awards and multiple awards for top-five briefs in the nation. A 2017 gift from Terry O’Donnell ’66 supports the moot court program. It enables cadets to travel to and compete in several moot court competitions around the country and host a moot court tournament at the Academy annually.

The Moot Court Team made an impressive showing during the 2017 competition season. Competing in the Texas A&M Regional Tournament, Cadet 2nd Class Rachel Kester received an award for being the number one speaker out of all the teams. During the Texas Tech Regional Tournament, three cadets earned top advocate awards: Cadet 2nd Class Brian Poythress, Cadet 1st Class Alexandra Vance and Cadet 2nd Class Sam Potter.

Progressing to the national championship tournament at the University of Northern Texas Dallas College of Law, two teams advanced to the Final 4 round, and three two-member teams received awards for top respondent briefs in the nation.

Maj. Jane Elzeftawy, assistant professor in the Department of Law, says there are at least two ways that participation in moot court competitions helps develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that cadets must have in order to be effective Air Force officers.

“First, it challenges students to read and comprehend difficult and often lengthy Supreme Court cases and synthesize new arguments regarding a new set of facts,” she says. “And second, it provides a crucible for developing and honing of oral advocacy skills since students are forced to think critically and advocate effectively on their feet in front of 3-5 civilian judges during practice and competition.”


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