Alongside faculty advisor Professor Mario Conte, the student-run MCHB creates and administers all on-campus competitions and organizes and develops the travelling teams that represent California Western School of Law throughout the nation. The MCHB is comprised of a nine-student Executive Board that includes officers, team coordinators, and sophisters, and is assisted by student-members of the General Board.
California Western's Moot Court Honors Board is well-known nationally for the successes of its competition teams, but also for its consistency in developing individuals that stand out in the post-graduation applicant pool, and ultimately go on to become great attorneys.
Faculty Advisor Mario Conte regularly hears positive feedback from judges after having an MCHB graduate in the courtroom, praising their professionalism, courteous nature, and possession of a legal skill set that distinguishes them from their peers.
ABOUT OUR TEAMS
California Western's trial competition teams prepare and conduct trials before judges. The teams perform direct and cross-examination of witnesses, make motions and objections, and make opening and closing arguments. Teams compete intrascholastically with other California Western students in the George N. Gafford and David M. Gill Trial competitions, and nationally at the intercollegiate John Marshall Mock Trial Competition, the Association of Trial Lawyers Competition, the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the San Diego Defense Lawyers Mock Trial Competition, among others.
California Western's appellate teams write briefs that discuss legal issues, and then advocate their position to a panel of judges and field questions from the bench. Teams compete intrascholastically with other California Western students in the William C. Lynch Appellate Competition, and nationally at the intercollegiate Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, the National Appellate Advocacy Competition, and the Roger J. Traynor California Moot Court Competition, among others.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
There are two separate ADR teams at California Western — Negotiation and Mediation. Both teams utilize collaboratively-generated and mutually-beneficial solutions to solve problems and put into practice. Individuals compete intrascholastically with other California Western students in a one-on-one negotiation competition, and teams compete nationally at the intercollegiate Robert R. Merhige Environmental Negotiation Competition, the ABA Negotiation Competition, and the Client Counseling Negotiation Competition, among others.
California Western students have the opportunity to compete in moot court exercises early in their law school careers - intrascholastic competitions that are the first step in becoming a member of a travelling intercollegiate competition team.
Trial and Appellate Teams
In their second semester, first-year California Western students are eligible for MCHB-administered intrascholastic competitions, where performance can lead to designation as a Distinguished Advocate (DA). Finalists in both the David M. Gill Trial Competition and the 1L Competition are candidates for DA awards.
Students who have received DA awards may then apply to take California Western's "Trial Skills" class, commonly referred to as DA Summer Camp. Acceptance into the intense 14-week trial- or appellate-dedicated Camp is predicated on a review of the student’s competition history, as well as academic performance.
Upon completion of DA Summer Camp, qualified advocates are selected for travelling competitive trial and appellate competition teams.
Advanced Dispute Resolution (ADR) Teams
At California Western, there are ADR events throughout the year that focus specifically on negotiation and/or mediation. These competitions are the primary way in which students are selected for the traveling negotiation and mediation teams.
For more information on California Western's Moot Court Honors Board, including the process involved in joining a travelling competition team, please visit the MCHB Student Bar Association website.
Upon graduation, travelling team participants who stay in the San Diego area are invited back as team coaches - currently 98% of coaches involved in the program are alumni from the last six years.
In January of 2013, Moot Court Honors Board alumna Deborah S. Dixon '07 was named partner at Wingert Grebing, the prestigious local firm where she began as a student law clerk in 2006. Having graduated from law school just five years ago, the swift timeline of Deborah’s ascent to partnership is remarkable—a milestone that tends to occur much later in an attorney’s post-graduate career.
Deborah's enthusiastic nature, unwavering work ethic, and dedication to the pursuit of justice extends beyond the practice of law, as she remains actively involved at California Western. She is a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, serves as an adjunct professor of trial skills during the MCHB summer program, and coaches intrascholastic trial competitors as well as the travelling teams of fellow Distinguished Advocates that represent the law school in competitions throughout the nation.
Christopher M. Lawson '05
California Western's current president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, MCHB alumnus Christopher M. Lawson '05 serves as a San Diego County Deputy District Attorney assigned to the Gang Prosecution Unit, where he prosecutes murders and other violent crimes.
During his law school career Christopher competed in multiple national trial team competitions, and since graduation, he has served as a member of the law school's adjunct faculty, teaching "Trial Skills for Distinguished Advocates," and has coached numerous trial teams at the law school that have competed around the country. Despite his busy work schedule, Christopher also volunteers some of his free time to judging local law school trial and appellate advocacy competitions.
RECENT COMPETITION RESULTS
Finalist, San Diego Defense Lawyers Mock Trial Competition, 2012
Semifinalist, Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial Competition, 2012
Semifinalist, American Association for Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition, 2012
Seventh Place, National Criminal Trial Advocacy Competition, 2012
First Place, San Diego Defense Lawyers Mock Trial Competition, 2011
Second Place, San Diego Defense Lawyers Mock Trial Competition, 2011 and 2010
Quarterfinalist, USD National Criminal Procedure Competition, 2012
Fifth Place Brief, USD National Criminal Procedure Competition, 2012
Pacific Super-Regional Champion, Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, 2010
Invitee, ABA Negotiation Nationals, 2012 and 2013
Third Place, ABA Negotiation Regionals, 2012
First Place, ABA Negotiation Regionals, 2011
Finalist, CalBar Environmental Negotiation Competition, 2012, 2011, and 2010