May it please the Court: The Ames experience today and through the years

In honor of the Harvard Law School bicentennial, and in celebration of the long tradition of the Ames Moot Court Competition at HLS, here is a look back on Ames featuring historical footage and photographs spanning the competition’s more than 100-year history. Interviews with past Ames participants include former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick ’82, Hon. Reena Raggi ’76, Harvard Law School Professor Guhan Subramanian ’08, former Dean of Stanford Law School Kathleen Sullivan ’81, among others.

Soon after Harvard Law School was founded in 1817, Harvard Law students began meeting in clubs to practice arguing cases. The first law club, known as the Marshall Club, started about 1825 and claimed future U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes LL.B. 1845 as one of its members. In 1911, a bequest in honor of the late Dean James Barr Ames LL.B. 1872 established a formal competition awarding prizes to the most successful oralists and teams. For more than 100 years of the Ames Moot Court Competition, students have stood before an illustrious panel of distinguished jurists to demonstrate their skills in oral argument.

Browse the Ames Moot Court Archives to learn more about the history of the Ames Moot Court Competition.


Chief Justice Roberts returns to Harvard Law for the Ames Competition

May it please the Court: The Ames experience today and through the years

Credit: Martha Stewart

This year, in honor of the law school’s bicentennial, the Hon. John G. Roberts Jr. ’79, Chief Justice of the United States, presided over the final round of Harvard Law School’s 2017 Ames Moot Court Competition, on Nov. 14. It was the second time the Chief Justice has presided over the prestigious competition, having first joined the Ames bench in 2010.

Read more about the 2017 Ames Competition, including this year’s winners and case info.


Watch and learn: Archives of the Ames Moot Court Competitions 1974-present

“Oyez, Oyez, Oyez: All those having business before the court are advised to draw near and give their attention”

Ames 1977 bench - Wright, Marshall, Hennessey

Credit: HLS Historical & Special Collections

Harvard Law Today presents an archive of more than four decades of Ames recordings, with footage of Supreme Court Justices Thurgood Marshall, Harry Blackmun ’32, Lewis Powell Jr. LL.M. ’32, William Brennan ’31 and more.

Watch videos of Ames Moot Court Competitions.