National PRBA Moot Court Competition

The National PRBA Moot Court Competition finals will take place October 31, 2015, in Orlando, Florida. The PRBA is the Puerto Rican Bar Association. The organization’s Florida, New York, and Illinois chapters are joining with the Asociación de Abogados de Puerto Rico to hold the moot court competition and a gala celebration this weekend.

The PRBA of Florida explains one of the goals of the organization like this: “Among our many objectives is the desire to increase awareness of and promote a stronger commitment to the civil and political rights and responsibilities of Puerto Ricans as U.S. citizens.”

Moot courts are competitions in which law school students take part in simulated court cases. They write briefs and take part in oral arguments in court, trying cases.

But this moot court, says the PRBA, “is unlike any other in the country.  It is part of a civil rights movement to address the remnants of the Spanish American War that left Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa in the untenable position of being United States citizens but not enjoying basic fundamental rights of citizenship, that is to vote for their commander in chief or to have a voting voice in the republican form of government.”

This year’s competition includes regional competitions in New York City,  Chicago, and Miami and will finish up with the national final in Orlando. Real justices will hear the oral arguments and grade the competitors.

Some of the law schools which have competed in the past include the  University of Florida, Florida A&M University, Barry University, Fordham University School of Law, Cornell University, New York Law, Cardozo Law School, Inter American University of Puerto Rico, and Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico.

In addition to the moot court competition, titled “Constitutional Law in the Case of Puerto Rico,” there will also be sessions on Florida election law and bankruptcy law. These sessions are designed not only for law students, but will also provide continuing education for practicing attorneys.

Sessions will also include “an open discussion among leaders in Central Florida who will be presented with ideas, potential solutions, insight into what the crisis means in the way of financial stability of the Municipal Stock Market, the living standards on the island, the migration flow to Florida and United States mainland.”

Committed to appear on the panel:

  • Anthony Suarez, Esq., President PRBA FL
  • Betty Lugo, Esq., President of the Puerto Rican Bar Assn. of NY
  • Evie De La Rosa, Esq., President of PRBA Illinois
  • Antonio Bauzá, Colegio de Abogados de Puerto Rico
  • Juan Cartagena, Esq., President of Latino Justice
  • Hon. Rene Plasencia, Florida State Representative
  • Hon. Bob Cortes, Florida State Representative
  • Hon. David Santiago, Florida State Representative
  • Hon. John Cortes, Florida State Representative
  • Hon. Victor Torres, Florida State Representative

Presenters include:

  • Mr. Howard Hills, Esq., recognized expert on the Territorial Clause formerly of U.S.
    State Department
  • Professor Enrique Guerra‐Pujol, Esq., University of Central Florida
  • Sonia Colon, Esq., expert bankruptcy attorney
  • Commissioners Jose Alvarez, Wanda Rentas, Art Otero of  Kissimmee, FL
  • Mr. Juan Martinez, Libre Initiative
  • Betsy Franceschini, Director of the Office of Puerto Rico Federal Affairs in
    Florida
  • Lew Oliver, Chairman, Orange County Republican Executive Committee
  • Carlos Guzman, President of Latino Leadership, Inc.
  • Alexi George, President Latin American Festivals, Inc.

Further information

We will be reporting on the event.

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