Moore Advocates have only been around Fordham for a few years, yet these law students are already getting noticed for their success at inter-school mock trial competitions from Buffalo to New Orleans. The title, Moore Advocates, comes from Fordham Law’s Brendan Moore Advocacy Center. Ian Weinstein, associate professor of law and director of the center, said the designation identifies law students with an interest in developing trial advocacy skills. “It’s critical for a trial lawyer to understand the complexities of the law and to develop good habits and procedures in advocacy early on,” Weinstein said. “The Brendan Moore Advocacy Center provides this structure and mentoring to those already expressing an interest in these areas of the law.”
A screening process within the Law School reviews students beginning in their second year. Those selected as Moore Advocates take a specialized curriculum that emphasizes case theory, fact analysis, problem solving and rules of evidence. The idea for the center came from an alumnus, Thomas Moore (LAW ’72), a notable medical malpractice attorney in Manhattan. He approached the Law School with a generous gift that had personal significance to him. “First and foremost, I wanted to establish a meaningful tribute to my late brother Brendan, who was a true advocate and a gifted trial attorney,” he said. “I also recalled my days in law school, and how I felt there was nowhere to go to develop my interest in becoming a trial lawyer. I wanted such a place to exist for Fordham’s law students.” In addition to providing a specialized curriculum for Moore Advocates, the center holds symposiums that bring trial lawyers to the school, and offers a place for students to form legal teams and practice trial lawyering through mock trial competitions with law experts as their coaches.
Despite the center’s youth, Moore Advocates are already getting recognition. At the Texas Young Lawyers Association Regional Trial Advocacy Competition in Buffalo, N.Y., one Fordham team advanced to the quarterfinals and one to the finals (twenty-six teams competed). Of the five individual awards given out at the competition, two went to Moore Advocates. Cheri Messner, a third-year student, won for best direct examination, and Meredith Fried, also a third-year student, for best cross examination. Recently, Moore Advocates competed in the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) regional competition.
Only 26 out of 208 competing teams advanced to the national finals in New Orleans, and Fordham had one of those teams. Prior to the competition, Thomas Moore, along with his wife and law partner Judy Livingston, coached the Fordham team on their case. Jim Kainen, an associate law professor, coaches and mentors the Moore Advocates with Cary Bricker, an adjunct law professor who is also a federal and state trial attorney. “The caliber of these law students is amazing,” Bricker said. “I feel like I’m training my future adversaries.” But for its founder, the continued success of the Brendan Moore Advocacy Center – and its Moore Advocates – has special significance. “My sister and I are very excited and interested in these accomplishments in our brother’s name,” Moore said. “It brings our family pride and joy.”