The nation's largest advocacy tournament -- the American Bar Association's National Appellate Advocacy Competition -- is upon us. This weekend marks the start of six regional tournaments that will take place over the next three weeks, ultimately sending 26 of the 209 entering teams to Chicago in mid April to compete for the national championship.
For the 2010 and 2011 tournaments, I performed an admittedly unscientific analysis of the "toughest" regional city in terms of program strength. What the hell -- let's do it again...
As in years past, I ran the numbers using three different metrics: last year's 24 ABA regional champions, the top 25 teams in the University of Houston Blakely Advocacy Institute's Moot Court National Championship rankings for 2010-11, and the current top 25 teams (for the 2011 ranking year) according to Brian Koppen's LawSchoolAdvocacy.com ranking site.
If we start with last year's ABA regional champs, San Francisco seems to be the strongest region, with six schools sending seven defending regional champions. University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law (which had two regional champions last year), Chapman University School of Law, Drake University Law School, University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, Baylor Law School, and UC Berkeley School of Law crowd the field there. Meanwhile, three cities -- Boston, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. -- are all tied with two schools sending three regional champions from 2011. In Boston you've got Texas Tech University School of Law (two champions) and South Texas College of Law; Atlanta plays host to University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law (two champions) and Florida A&M University College of Law; and D.C. will be visited by Liberty University School of Law (two champions) and Charleston School of Law. Incidentally, the Seattle and New York regions have four defending champions each.
Turning to the Blakely Advocacy Institute rankings, New York comes in at the hardest region. There we'll see Duke University School of Law (#6), Seton Hall University School of Law (#7), Columbia Law School (#12), Florida Coastal School of Law (#16), Brooklyn Law School (#19), and University of Houston Law Center (#24) all competing for four national bids. D.C. appears to be the weakest, with only William & Mary Law School (#14) and Liberty (#22) among the top 25 programs in the field.
Finally, Brian Koppen's rankings for the 2011 calendar year tell us that San Francicso will be the most challenging region, with five ranked programs. Baylor (#4), Berkeley (#5), Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law (#6), McGeorge (#14), and Southwestern Law School (#19) will play there. Meanwhile, D.C. again brings up the rear, with Liberty (#25) as the only ranked team.
Anyway, have fun making any sense of all that. Look forward to seeing folks in Boston. Best of luck!