UCLA Law’s Moot Court Honors Program Hosts Third Annual Moot Court Cyber Crimes Competition

Los Angeles, CA, March 21, 2014 – The Moot Court Honors Program at UCLA School of Law hosted its third annual UCLA Moot Court Cyber Crimes Competition, the first-ever national moot court competition devoted to cyber crime issues, on March 14-15, 2014.  Created to complement and enhance UCLA’s role in training the next generation of cyber crime experts, the event attracted distinguished judges and entrants from across the United States and Canada.

Thomas W. Holm, director of the Lawyering Skills Clinical Program at UCLA School of Law, said: “I’m so excited to see this competition grow.  Our competition is getting bigger and better every year, with teams coming from across the nation to argue complex and timely issues relating to cyber crimes.  It was also delightful to see such talented student advocates hold their own while answering the withering and penetrating questions posed by the cyber crime experts who serve as judges for the competition, including private practitioners, assistant U.S. attorneys and federal court judges.”

Karen Kwok, co-vice president of cyber crimes on the Moot Court Honors Board, expressed her enthusiasm as well, noting: "I have only heard positive feedback from all of our competitors and judges.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were very impressed with the weekend's events.  Many of the judges have developed camaraderie around the event and have offered to contribute to next year's program.  Our cyber crimes competition is such a unique event and will only continue to grow over the next few years."  Ahmad Qazi, also co-vice president of the Cyber Crimes Competition, added, “The recent breach of Target’s stored credit card numbers highlights the amount of harm and disruption cyber crimes can cause.  This competition not only provides participants an opportunity to improve their writing and oral advocacy skills, but it also highlights areas where the law needs to develop and the different directions it could potentially take.”

The competition problem centered around two issues: (1) whether the use of a "scraper" program that generates URLs and automatically downloads email addresses displayed on a publicly accessible website, in violation of the website's terms of use, constitutes "unauthorized access" within the meaning of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and (2) whether police officers' use of a "Shadow" device to locate an unsecured wireless network and the officers' subsequent opening of a shared folder within that network constitutes a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.  Students were vigorously challenged by these issues, which forced them to make and defend complex arguments under difficult questioning from the judges.  This year, UCLA Law was honored to have distinguished practitioners as judges, including three federal district court judges: Judge Gerald E. Rosen (Eastern District of Michigan), Judge James G. Carr (Northern District of Ohio) and Judge Andrew J. Guilford (Central District of California). Several judges complimented the Moot Court Honors Board for developing such sophisticated, timely and thoroughly researched problems. 

In addition to UCLA School of Law, teams from University of Michigan, University of Virginia, UC Davis, UC Hastings, Pepperdine University, West Virginia University, Western State University and University of Nevada, Las Vegas participated.  The overall team champions of the competition were Jenny Stone and Charlie Berdahl of University of Michigan, while Natalia Bialkowska and Lauren Schweitzer of UCLA were the runners-up.  The award for Best Overall Brief went to Sean Piers of UC Davis, and the award for Best Overall Oral Individual Advocate went to David Kruckenberg of UC Davis.

This year’s competition also included a debate pertaining to cyber security, privacy and the law.  The Oxford style debate, which took place in front of a packed room at the law school, was titled “Edward Snowden:  Patriot or Traitor.”  The debaters included Judge James Carr, federal district judge for the Northern District of Ohio and former chief judge of the FISA Court; Jesselyn Radack, Mr. Snowden’s attorney; Stewart Baker, a former undersecretary of Homeland Security; Bruce Fein, a noted constitutional lawyer; and Trevor Timm of the Foundation for Freedom of the Press. 

Norton by Symantec, which provides anti-virus, Internet security and anti-spyware products for the home and business, generously sponsors the competition.  Symantec’s sponsorship of the competition is just another example of its dedication to cyber security.  By generously supporting the Cyber Crimes Competition at UCLA, Symantec creates a space to train the next generation of lawyers in the complex legal arena of cyber crimes.  This training will help to ensure that our legal institutions are capable of maintaining cyber security well into the future no matter the changes in the legal landscape. 

The fourth annual UCLA Moot Court Cyber Crimes Competition is scheduled for the spring of 2015.

About UCLA School of Law
Founded in 1949, UCLA School of Law is the youngest major law school in the nation and has established a tradition of innovation in its approach to teaching, research and scholarship. With approximately 100 faculty and 1,100 students, the school pioneered clinical teaching, is a leader in interdisciplinary research and training, and is at the forefront of efforts to link research to its effects on society and the legal profession. For more information, visit www.law.ucla.edu.