The Giles Sutherland Rich Moot Court Competition brings together law student competitors from across the country. The country is broken up into five regions, and the two top teams from each region go on to compete at nationals. Brianna Chamberlin, a 3L, and 2L Tyler Latcham competed as a team in the program this year, winning the Midwest regional competition and advancing to the national level. Iowa Law’s teams consistently succeed in the regional and national competitions each year, and Chamberlin and Latcham are a part of this continuing legacy. 

Before entering law school, Chamberlin knew that she wanted to pursue a career in patent litigation. “When I came to Admitted Students Day,” Chamberlin reflected, “I sat in on an IPLS meeting that was going on that day, and the people presenting the meeting were about to argue at the national competition, which got me interested in competing myself.” For Latcham, who had heard of the IP Advocacy program’s excellent reputation before coming to law school, participating in the moot court competition was more about exploring his career options. “Last year, I didn’t know if I wanted to practice in patent prosecution or patent litigation, so the competition gave me the opportunity to explore the litigation side of patent law,” Latcham explained. Now, Latcham knows that patent litigation is the path he wants to take. 

The patent moot court competitors submit their briefs and present their oral arguments at regional competitions. Each regional consists of three rounds, where teams are eliminated each round. The top two teams from each regional competition advance to nationals. Unlike the other IP Advocacy competitions offered at Iowa Law, which require teams to brief one side of the legal issue, the Giles S. Rich competition requires that each team write a brief for both sides of the issue. 

For Chamberlin and Latcham, the competition has given them an opportunity to practice and develop their legal skills in a real-world setting. “It’s as close as you can get to a real appellate experience in law school,” Chamberlin observed. “It’s also helped the development of my writing,” Chamberlin said. “Having to write and edit the briefs line-by-line helped me to figure out my writing style and strengthen my editing skills.” Latcham echoed this sentiment, while also noting the improvement in his oral argument skills.  

As part of their preparation for the competition, Chamberlin and Latcham practiced their oral arguments once or twice a week in front of practicing attorneys. “Professor Bohannan schedules practices with various attorneys,” Latcham explained. “It was a great learning experience to have people who do this kind of work in real life come in and specifically critique you and your argument style.”  

Latcham has also appreciated the chance to dive in to the issues presented in this year’s case problem. “The competition is different from other law school classes because you spend months on the issues and become really knowledgeable on them,” Latcham observed.

​Amanda Marincic -- April 28, 2017