About the First Year Ames Competition

The First Year Ames Moot Court serves as the academic focus of first-year students’ second semester of Legal Research and Writing (LRW).  All first-year J.D. students participate:  the work of briefing and arguing a case is an essential part of a Harvard legal education and helps students develop critical skills in argument and logic.

In the First Year Ames Moot Court, students work in pairs to compose briefs on the merits of a hypothetical appellate case.  Cases are assigned by students’ Legal Research and Writing instructors, the Climenko Fellows.  Together with members of the Board of Student Advisers who serve as teaching assistants, the Climenko Fellows teach students how to conduct research, write their briefs, and prepare for oral arguments.

Students’ briefs are graded by their Climenko Fellows.  Students do not receive formal grades for their oral argument performance, but they do receive feedback from their judging panel (consisting of varied combinations of faculty, practicing attorneys, and upper-level students).

First-Year Ames Case Descriptions

Concerned Citizens of Cairo v. Raiders presents several appellate issues stemming from an international dispute over the spoils of an expedition conducted by Kentucky Jones and his company, Raiders and Associates. Concerned Citizens of Cairo (CCC) is seeking assistance from federal court in the United States to assist its endeavors in a court in England. Specifically, CCC has requested discovery of relevant documents from Raiders and Associates, under 28 U.S.C. § 1782, but those documents are exclusively available in hard copy in Brazil. Raiders argues that the District Court for the District of Massachusetts does not have jurisdiction over it such that the court can mandate discovery from Raiders. The district court split on the two central questions, finding that it had jurisdiction but that the statute could not have extraterritorial effect over documents located abroad. On appeal, CCC asks the First Circuit to find jurisdiction over Raiders and grant discovery over the Brazilian documents.

Sanchez v. MacNamara Veterinary Specialists stems from Defendant-Appellant June Sanchez’s employment as a veterinarian for Plaintiff-Appellee MacNamara Veterinarian Specialists. After eight years of employment, Sanchez resigned and opened her own veterinary practice in Syracuse. MacNamara filed a contract suit, alleging that Sanchez’s practice violated her employment contract, which included a restrictive covenant that limited Sanchez’s ability to practice as a veterinarian in New York after leaving MacNamara. Sanchez responded that the covenant was unenforceable, and brought a counterclaim alleging that the hospital had retaliated against her for reporting a fellow veterinarian’s dangerous conduct, thus constructively discharging her and violating the employment contract. The trial court granted MacNamara’s motion for summary judgment, and the New York Court of Appeals granted review over two issues: whether the noncompete portion of the employment contract is enforceable, and whether Sanchez adequately pleaded a cause of action for breach of her employment contract.