This past February, we competed in the Jeffrey G. Miller National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition (NELMCC) at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University.
In the fall semester leading up to the competition, we wrote an appellate brief for the Appellants, who were threatened with losing their island homes, due to rising sea levels resulting from greenhouse gases emitted by a large U.S. corporation. We had to creatively argue our claims through the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, the Alien Tort Statute, and international Trail Smelter Principle. The arguments we made were very difficult as the law was stacked against us. We knew we were facing an uphill battle choosing to write the brief for the appellant, but took on the challenge because of how relevant these issues are and to show that substantial environmental progress can be achieved through the judicial system.
In preparation for oral arguments, we practiced 3-4 times a week, coached by Professor Neil Wise. We often traveled to area law firms, as well as practiced at the law school in front of professors, to receive feedback on our substantive arguments and performance. As future litigators, practicing public speaking and creatively arguing your point on the fly is invaluable. NELMC is unique in that there are three parties you are required to argue for over the course of the competition, which gives you the opportunity to attack a problem from all sides, noting every strength and weakness for each party's case.
At the competition, we argued against schools from all over the country. A total of 56 law schools were present and we especially enjoyed meeting other students from around the country that share a passion for environmental law. During the competition, we argued three times—one time for each of the three parties involved. Kylie was awarded best oralist in the second preliminary round while arguing for the corporate defendants. Overall, we had a great experience at the competition and were very proud of our accomplishments.