Law students who wonder what it’s like to watch an attorney prepare to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court got a rare chance to glimpse that very thing on Feb. 22, when former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement practiced for an upcoming argument during a moot session in the Columbus School of Law’s Slowinski Courtroom.
Clement, who argued more than 60 cases before the nation’s highest court as United States Solicitor General from 2005-2008, was invited by Suzette Malveaux, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, to moot for American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, which deals with the enforceability of an arbitration agreement that prohibits class actions in the context of an anti-trust case. The case was argued before the Supreme Court on Feb. 27, 2013.
Five legal practitioners volunteered to serve as judges in the moot court session and they acted much as Supreme Court justices do, firing pointed questions at Clement, interjecting comments, and seeking clarifications of his arguments.
“This moot provided the CUA law school community a unique opportunity to witness appellate oral advocacy at the highest level,” said Dean Malveaux.
The formal moot lasted approximately an hour, followed by an hour of critique, general discussion and question-and-answer period with CUA Law students.
Attendance was by invitation only and student onlookers agreed to maintain strict confidentiality about what they witnessed.
Currently a partner at Bancroft PLLC, Clement was introduced by Dean Daniel Attridge as “an advocate many consider to be the best appellate lawyer of his generation." Clement is magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was the Supreme Court editor of the Harvard Law Review.