A Mexican national moot court team developed and coached by Professor Justin Brooks and his staff at the California Innocence Project excelled against another Mexican team developed by the American Bar Association (ABA). The competition was a milestone in California Western’s deep commitment to teaching Latin American lawyers about the U.S. legal system.
”In a very close contest, the ABA team edged ours out and won,” Brooks said of the event held July 13 at the Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C. “More important was the fact that both teams were excellent. They argued and introduced evidence as well as I have seen in any U.S. national moot court competition.”
California Western and the ABA were both awarded multimillion-dollar grants to put on a national moot court competition in Mexico modeled on U.S. law school competitions. After a year of tournaments throughout Mexico, Brooks and his team selected a champion and the ABA selected theirs.
The final round between the two teams was known as the ‘Champion of Champions’ event and adds a new dimension to complement the law school’s highly successful trial team competition program.
”Completing this tournament culminated an incredible year where we trained hundreds of law students on the new trial system in Mexico,” said Brooks. “When Mexico transitions to an oral trial system next year we know that these students will be able to serve their clients well. We also developed a model for Mexico to follow going forward with this type of training in all of their law schools. The impact of California Western's work on this program could affect generations of students, lawyers, and their clients.”
California Western's Deep Ties to Latin America
California Western offers an LL.M. program for Spanish-speaking attorneys and judges, which made its debut in 2014. This program builds on the law school’s reputation of empowering a new generation of advocates for legal change in Latin America and supports the ongoing transition to an adversarial system of criminal procedure.
Proyecto ACCESO is another successful California Western program that has trained thousands of judges, prosecutors, public defenders, justice ministry officials, private lawyers, law enforcement agents, and community leaders throughout the Americas.
In 2015, the law school signed an agreement with the Organization of American States (OAS) that encourages collaboration, joint training activities, and best practices between California Western and the OAS.