Ames Moot Court Competition




Dear Second-Year Students,


Welcome back to HLS. I hope you all enjoyed your summer and are looking forward to your second year of law school.


As second year students, you have the opportunity to compete in the Upper Level Ames Moot Court Competition, which is administered by the Board of Student Advisers. The Ames Competition is one of the most prestigious competitions for appellate brief writing and advocacy in the country. Past Ames Competition winners include Professor Cass Sunstein, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Judge Henry Friendly and Justice Harry Blackmun. We hope that you join the illustrious ranks of Ames Participants.


Included below are further details regarding the Upper Level Moot Court:


1.       Structure of the Competition

2.       Assembling Your Team

3.       How to Register

4.       Important Dates


I encourage you to join this unique academic tradition by participating in the competition. Please send any questions or concerns to We will also be holding an information meeting on September 12 in Langdell North to provide you more information. I look forward to seeing all of you there.


Best regards,


Jeffery Habenicht

Vice President, Ames Moot Court Program

Board of Student Advisers

Harvard Law School





1. Structure of the Competition


The Upper Level Ames Moot Court Competition consists of three rounds. The first round is known as the Qualifying Round or “Q-Round.” Each Q-Round team consists of four (4) team members who will write an Appellant brief. If the team advances to the second phase, the four team members will then write two Appellee briefs. Teams advancing to the second phase will also participate in oral arguments.


For oral arguments, teams will divide themselves into two pairs. One pair will represent the Appellant and the other pair will represent the Appellee. Each pair will argue twice: each Appellant pair against two Appellee pairs and each Appellee pair against two Appellant pairs. Q-Round scores will be based on points assigned to each team’s Appellant brief, Appellee briefs, and Oral Arguments. The four highest-scoring teams in the Q-Round will advance to the Semi-Final Round.


The Semi-Final Round presents the unique opportunity for students to brief and argue an appellate case for a panel of distinguished jurists in front of the Harvard Law School community. In 2011 the Semi-Final Round judges included, among others, Judge Kermit Lipez of the First Circuit, Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr. of the Third Circuit, Judge Kiyo Matsumoto of the Eastern District of New York, and Judge Nancy Gertner of the District of Massachusetts.


The winning team in each Semi-Final Round argument will advance to the Final Round of the Ames Competition. In the past, the Final Round has been judged by Supreme Court Justices and other distinguished jurists from appellate circuits and state supreme courts. Last year the Final Round judges were Chief Justice John Roberts, Judge Diana Murphy of the Eighth Circuit, and Judge Julia Smith-Gibbons of the Sixth Circuit.


2. Assembling Your Team


The first step in the Ames process is assembling a team of four students. Team members must be second-year law students or joint-degree students currently enrolled in their first year of post-1L law school classes at HLS.


Feel free to create your team in any way you see fit: talking to friends, emailing section makes, or chatting up complete strangers at Starbucks. Students who wish to participate, but who do not have a team or who only have a partial team can also use the Q-Round Ames online forum to form a group. The forum can be accessed HERE. This forum is intended to allow 2Ls (both individuals and partial teams) to connect with other interested participants.


3. How to Register for the Competition


Students who are interested in the Competition should plan to attend an INFORMATIONAL MEETING on Wednesday, September 12th, at 12:00 PM in Langdell North. The meeting will discuss how to register for Q-Round, the logistics of competing in Q-Round, and will provide an opportunity for potential participants to ask any remaining questions they may have. The BSA will also distribute registration forms and copies of the official rules at this meeting. Students who cannot attend the informational meeting may instead ask a potential team member to attend, or may access the registration form and the official rules online at:


Registration forms listing complete teams of four (4) students must be submitted to the BSA Office via hardcopy by 5:00 pm on Monday, September 17th. Teams must also register online at by the registration deadline. Late submissions will not be accepted under any circumstances.



4. Important Dates for Registered Teams


The case record will be distributed to registered teams on Tuesday, September 18th at noon. Appellant briefs will be due on Friday, October 19th by 5:00 pm. A team will not be permitted to withdraw from the Competition once it has submitted its Appellant brief.


On Monday, October 22nd, teams will told whether they have advanced to the second phase of Q-Round. Those teams that advance to the second phase of Q-Round must submit their two Appellee briefs by Monday, October 29th. Advancing teams will participate in oral arguments on Tuesday, November 13th and Wednesday, November 14th. Judges for the Q-Round oral arguments include esteemed judges and practitioners from around the Boston area, as well as HLS faculty.



I encourage you to join this unique academic tradition by participating in the competition. Please send any questions or concerns to I look forward to meeting you at the informational meeting on September 12th.

Sandy Efforts

Following up on Dean Minow’s email, we have been fielding suggestions from many students and student organizations about potential Sandy relief efforts.

Some student organizations have already gotten started.  To date, we are aware of the following:

·   WLA is coordinating a collection of clothing, blanket, toiletries, etc in the donation bins in the Hark
·   Law School Republicans are coordinating a Blood Drive on November 29th

Additional details will be posted on the calendar and on posters around the Law School.

In an effort to coordinate the activities and interests, we’ll hold a meeting of students interested in suggesting/organizing/collaborating initiatives to aid in Sandy relief.

The meeting will be held on Friday, November 9 at 12:00 in Milstein East C (lunch served).

If you can’t attend but wish to be added to the list for future emails, please email dos@law.

Election Info


Just a reminder – students voting in MA for the first time: if you registered to vote by mail, you will be required to show identification when you vote.

Acceptable identification must include your name and the address at which you are registered to vote, for example: a current and valid driver’s license, photo identification, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document showing your name and address.

If you do not provide such identification, the Help America Vote Act of 2002 requires that you may only cast a provisional ballot which will be counted later, but only after your eligibility to vote has been determined.

After you vote and volunteer, please join us for an election night party at the Pub & Haas Lounge starting at 7pm.  Cool giveaways for the first 50 people, 2 drink tickets for all HLS students (bring your ID), heavy hors d’oeuvres and kosher food available.

Come celebrate democracy and root for your favorite Harvard Law School alumnus!

Election Related Announcements

We have several election related announcements:

1.      Students volunteering on election day, may request to have classes recorded with the following caveats:  classes only (not seminars or reading groups), faculty permission is required (the registrar will handle those permissions).  There is always a chance that something can go wrong (technical glitch etc) so please also plan to get notes from a classmate as backup.  If you wish to request a class taping, please email the registrar by Thursday, November 1 at 3pm.  In the email, you should include your name, the classes for which you are registered (names of course and faculty name)

2.      You are invited to an election night party at the Law School starting at 7pm in the Pub and Haas Lounge (and other areas of the first floor of WCC).  We’ll have several broadcasts (different channels in different locations) and will have food and drink (2 drink tickets to each student then a cash bar).  I learned after 2000 not to say “the election party ends after the winner is announced” so the expectation is that we will end after the winner is announced but we may set a cut-off time if it doesn’t look like we’ll have a winner that night.

3.      From The Crimson:
The Crimson has taken presidential election polls since at least 1884, when James Blaine beat out Grover Cleveland by just 20 votes among Harvard men. Harvard picked Alfred Landon and Wendell Wilkie over FDR in the 1936 and 1940 polls. At Harvard, Dewey really did defeat Truman, by a margin of more than 2:1.

Now it’s your turn to be a part of history.

Click here to vote in The Crimson’s 2012 presidential election poll. We’ll find out whether Law School students or Grad School of Design students like Obama more, whether science or humanities concentrators are more likely to pick Romney, and how many Harvard students want to legalize medical marijuana in Massachusetts.

Please cast your ballots by 5 p.m. today so that we can analyze the results and announce them before Election Day. You need not be a registered voter to participate.  Contact with any questions. Happy voting!

Classes resume tomorrow

Hi again (with what I hope is the final storm announcement):

The Law School will resume normal operations on Tuesday morning. Classes will be held as scheduled.

Students who typically rely on public transportation should check the MBTA website for updates.  At present, MBTA services are expected to be restored in the early morning.  If you are unsure about your transportation options, you will be able to park for free tomorrow with a Harvard ID at 10 Everett Street (the WCC lot) and 52 Oxford Street (on the corner of Everett and Oxford).

Any additional updates will be posted to, the law school home page and/or Message Me.

Storm Updates

Hi again-

The Hark will be open for a slightly scaled down breakfast and lunch tomorrow.

Facilities has asked everyone on campus to move items of value off the floor (ground floor and basement levels) and away from windows.  They also ask that you keep your windows locked and your shades/blinds down during the storm.

Updates are at:



Governor Patrick has declared a State of Emergency for Massachusetts in anticipation of the storm.  As you might imagine, there are a number of offices working with various campus services to prepare the campus and community.

If we need to send urgent updates during the storm and aftermath, we will update the Law School’s website and send email when possible but a critical means of emergency contact is Message Me.  If you haven’t already done so, register for Message Me so that you can receive text alerts as necessary

Before the storm, please review the University emergency page:

the law school’s emergency contacts page:

and check out the State of Massachusetts page:
for additional information on the storm and emergency preparedness.

Other than that, remember to charge up all of your devices, get a flashlight if you don’t already have one (each RA in the dorms has a flashlight to assist residents), stock up on batteries, and have some non-perishable food on hand since food service may be limited in the event of a black out.

Classes are still scheduled and the plan is to keep most if not all services in place but we will keep you posted if anything changes.