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At the time the Department of Law opened, law schools were criticized by lawyers as being too theoretical. The three professors who opened the Law Department were themselves office trained and were in a position to know. In their first announcement in the Catalogue of 1860 they pointed out: The active practitioner, engrossed with the cares of business, cannot—or, at least,  as proved by experience, does not—give to the students who place themselves in his charge, that attention and assistance essential to give a correct direction to their reading. The effort here will be to make, not theoretical merely, but practical lawyers: not to teach principles merely, but how to apply them. To this end they announced that they would conduct a moot court in which all students might participate, and that the faculty would assist the students in their club courts. The moot courts were directed by the faculty, and from the first entry in the "Record of Law Department," October13, 1859, Professor Cooley presiding, to June 7, 1893, moot courts were as regularly provided for as were lectures. But on September 25, 1893, it was recorded: "The Practice Court is to be under the charge of Professor Mechem.

" The moot court, which had existed so long without interruption, was displaced by the highly organized and faculty-directed practice court. This was intended to require of every senior participation in a jury case involving questions of fact and a case to be argued and disposed of as a question of law upon an agreed statement of facts. Papers and briefs were to be prepared and filed, and arguments were to be made as in an actual case in court.  The following year Thomas Ashford Bogle ('88) was added to the faculty to have entire charge of the practice court.  He was assisted by the other members of the faculty, who sat as judges to hear the cases. Under his masterly direction the practice court was vigorously developed.

The University of Michigan: An Encyclopedic Survey

Vol. 2, p. 1025

The University of Michigan

Introduces Moot Courts

In Law Curriculum