PHC’s moot court teams compete in the American Moot Court Association (AMCA)—the only national undergraduate moot court league in the U.S.—against more than 400 teams from colleges around the country. With 13 national championship titles in oral advocacy since 2005 and one international championship title, PHC’s track record of success is unparalleled.
Patrick Henry College once again swept the national competition in intercollegiate moot court, winning its thirteenth intercollegiate moot court national championship in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In addition to winning first place, PHC was the only school to advance all eight teams to the elimination rounds. Seven PHC students earned individual recognition as Outstanding Orators from among the 160 competitors.
In Moot Court, students simulate appellate advocacy and hone their understanding and articulation of constitutional law and Supreme Court precedent. Students compete in pairs of two and work together to research specific constitutional issues and develop nuanced legal arguments for oral delivery and written brief submissions. Judges question students during oral argument, testing their knowledge of case law and the veracity and cohesion of their legal argument.
Due to the rigorous legal analysis that it requires, Moot Court has been called by some “the single most beneficial experience for anyone contemplating law school.” Even PHC students preparing for careers in other fields have found the skills they drew from competition to be invaluable.
William Bock ('18) and Helaina Hirsch ('18), coached by Michael Farris, Chancellor Emeritus of Patrick Henry College, won the 8th Annual Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition on July 20, 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland—a leading human rights educational event. The final round of the competition, sponsored by the Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria, South Africa, was held in the UN Human Rights Council Chambers.
On January 27, 2017, Delegate Dave LaRock honored William Bock and Helaina Hirsch, along with PHC Chancellor Emeritus Michael Farris and President Jack Haye, with a center aisle presentation on the Virginia House floor for their victory at the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court 2016 Championship.
Competitive debate motivates students to exceed the bare minimum of knowledge, and builds the ability to articulate and defend a position against repeated attacks. Because of its rigorous and effective approach to education, forensics at PHC are not extra-curricular but co-curricular, a fully-recognized and vital element of PHC Academics.