UCLA School of Law students Delaney Gold-Diamond ’21 and Avery Hitchcock ’21 won the prestigious Thurgood Marshall Memorial Moot Court Competition, which was held virtually over the course of several weeks, from late February through mid-March.
The moot court tournament was hosted by the Federal Bar Association’s Younger Lawyers Division. Teams of students representing 40 law schools from across the country were presented with a specific fact pattern, researched issues that were presented in the matter, studied real-world legal cases that were on point, wrote an appellate brief, and argued the constitutionality of the issues in front of a panel of mock Supreme Court justices.
In addition to their overall victory, Gold-Diamond earned recognition as an outstanding oralist in the preliminary rounds and as the top oralist in the final.
The students worked under the mentorship of UCLA Law lecturer and alumnus David Babbe ’81, who oversees the law school’s participation in moot court competitions. Their extensive preparation included hours of researching and writing on issues involving a warrantless search under the Fourth Amendment and a third-party confession that implicated the right to mount a complete defense under the Sixth Amendment. The teammates also practiced their oral arguments and received valuable feedback from Babbe and other moot court students.
Gold-Diamond and Hitchcock partner on both UCLA Law’s moot court and mock trial teams, and they have never lost a round as co-counsel in two years of competitions.
“The only thing more fun than winning the whole competition is winning it with your best friend,” says Gold-Diamond, who adds that she relied on her moot court experience when she represented a client in an actual oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last fall. That effort was part of UCLA Law’s First Amendment Amicus Clinic, through which students occasionally have an opportunity to advocate before real appellate judges. After graduation, she will clerk for Judge Carlos Bea on the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.
“I’m so grateful that UCLA Law provides so many opportunities for students to be as engaged in oral advocacy as they want to be,” says Hitchcock, who will clerk for UCLA Law alumna Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw ’79 on the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena after graduation. “I’ve become more articulate, confident, and persuasive thanks to my experiences in moot court and mock trial.”