We hope that you and your students have enjoyed diving into State of Arkansas v. Andie Martin. The students who authored the case worked very hard to produce a case that should challenge your students while still being fun. As with many things this academic year, we are moving to a virtual competition. While we were hoping to do an in-person competition, three factors led to the decision to hold the competition online:
First, we cannot guarantee that courtrooms will be available in March. Courthouses are limiting access to the public, and even as they open up (assuming that they do in the spring), we anticipate having pushback to having an event unrelated to the business of the court there.
Second, the Subcommittee is uncomfortable with the current unresolved issues that might arise from an in-person event, particularly given that medical professionals have identified indoor activities as a higher risk of exposure. The rising number of cases have not helped address those concerns.
Finally, the 2021 National Championship, which was scheduled to be held in Evansville, Indiana, will be held virtually. Quite frankly, for those on the Subcommittee who were still holding out hope for in in-person competition, this was the proverbial nail in the coffin. This is consistent with the trend across the country. Every state that I am familiar with has moved to a virtual competition this year.
The Subcommittee still has some work to do regarding the logistics of a virtual competition. However, some of the work has already been done. We have already updated our rules to take into consideration virtual competition. While you should be familiar with all rules, we advise you to review Rules 1.3.B. (addressing technical difficulties), 4.1 (courtroom settings), 4.6 (timekeeping), 4.12 (trial communication) and 4.20.B (introduction of exhibits). As we get closer to the competition, we will have more information on competition logistics.
There may also be a question about whether students will be competing from their own homes or together in a central location. The National Committee decided to leave it up to the teams, and we are doing the same. We do not know what the pandemic will look like in March; therefore, we will leave it up to each team to do what it believes is best.
Again, we hope that you and your students are enjoying going through this year's case, and we look forwarding to "seeing" you in March.