The Florida Bar

News Releases


April 5, 2024
CONTACT: Nellie Louis, [email protected]
The Florida Bar

TALLAHASSEE – The final rounds of the 2023-2024 Florida Bar High School Appellate Brief Writing & Moot Court Competition were held in Tallahassee on April 2-3. The competition is conducted by The Florida Bar Law Related Education Committee and Appellate Practice Section. The two-part program offered a unique opportunity to learn about the appellate process and what it is like to present a case in a true-to-life court experience. Students participating in the competition wrote briefs on a fictitious case involving student discipline and evidence, which were graded by practicing attorneys and six teams were invited to present oral arguments before appellate judges of the First District Court of Appeal on April 2. A statewide final round between the top two teams was held at the Florida Supreme Court the following day, April 3.

The State Champion of this year’s Appellate Brief Writing and Moot Court Competition was the team of Matthew Rodriquez and Jacob Zeng. Led by attorneys Nikki Laurie and Laura Burkhalter, the team from American Heritage School – Broward, was judged the best in Florida by all seven Florida Supreme Court Justices in the final round.

Also recognized were Competition Finalists, Ethan Williams and Zoe Priolo, from Bell Creek Academy. Matthew Rodriquez was also recognized as the Best Oralist in the Final Round.

Awards were also presented at the conclusion of the first day appellate rounds. Competing in the preliminary rounds were two student teams from the following high schools:

American Heritage School – Broward County

Beachside High School – St. Johns County

Bell Creek Academy – Hillsborough County

Gainesville High School – Alachua County

iPrep Academy – Miami-Dade County

William R. Boone High School – Orange County

The Best Brief award was presented to Matthew Rodriquez and Jacob Zeng from American Heritage School – Broward. Christopher Li from Beachside High School received the award for the Best Oralist for the preliminary round.

The Florida High School Appellate Brief Writing and Moot Court Competition program is designed to provide students the opportunity to learn critical thinking skills, legal reasoning, analysis, and professionalism, in addition to the structure and function of the courts and legal process. Visit The Florida Bar Moot Court page for more information. Links to the broadcasts of the competition will be posted on this page.


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