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Building confidence in the courtroom

The Holderness Moot Court program at the UNC School of Law gives second-year law students a chance to practice many of the skills they’ll need to perfect as attorneys.

Students practicing in the courtroom.

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Carolina is well-known for its students who compete on the court, but there are also Tar Heels competing in the courtroom each year.

The Holderness Moot Court program at the UNC School of Law gives second-year law students a chance to test their courtroom techniques against other universities and practice many of the skills they’ll need to perfect as attorneys, including preparing for cases, representing clients and advocating before judges and juries.

“Only a competition can simulate those types of nerves and those types of stakes,” said Annie Scardulla, a clinical assistant professor at the School of Law. “I think a lot of law students come out of law school knowing they can do it, but they also just kind of question themselves, ‘because I’ve never actually done it before.’ I think the Holderness Moot court program gives the students the confidence to say, ‘No, I have done this.’”

The program includes not only the mock trial component but also classroom coursework that students take to help them develop courtroom expertise and prepare for the competition.

“It’s kind of like a March Madness, bracket-style competition where we’ll get placed against teams from other schools,” said Carson Southard, a second-year UNC Law student. “This is why I came to law school — to be able to be in a courtroom, to be able to get that adrenaline rush.”

Learn more about the UNC School of Law