During the University of Richmond School of Law's 2014 Orientation, first-year law students participated in three days of programs designed to help prepare them for their first semester of law school. In addition to a number of social events, Richmond Law faculty members provided an introduction to lawyering skills, legal research, and civil procedure, through a mock class. One highlight of the orientation program was an oral argument simulation presented by two law professors in the Richmond Law Moot Court Room.

Professors Jack Preis and Kevin Walsh argued as advocates in the upcoming United States Supreme case of Yates v. United States. In 2007, fisherman John Yates was sentenced for disposing of undersized fish, key evidence in the investigation of his offense. The U.S. government has argued that destroying such evidence was a violation of the 2002 Sarbanes–Oxley Act, a federal law enacted in response to corporate corruption cases, such as Enron, to penalize anyone who knowingly alters, destroys, or tampers with evidence with the intent to impede.

In determining whether fish constitute "tangible objects" within the meaning of the statute, Professor Preis, representing appellant Yates, argued against a literal meaning interpretation, instead supporting a meaning informed by the context of the statutory scheme. Representing the U.S., Professor Walsh began with a road map for his argument before presenting a position that relied, in part, on a broad reach of the law. Professors Mary Heen, Mary Tate, and Kimberly Robinson acted as judges on a "hot bench"—launching a question within the first minute of argument.

Alexandra Cook, L'17, said, "It's a courtroom, but it's a classroom at the same time, so it was really great to be engrossed in that part of it. And to be able to have a discussion about the mindset of the defense, the prosecution and what's going on with the judges." She added, "They definitely made an effort to show you how the classroom is going to teach you how it's going to connect to your practice in the courtroom. It was really cool to get that hands-on experience early on." Ryan Asalone, L'17, said, "I thought it was really neat." He said as soon as he learned that Professor Walsh had clerked for the Supreme Court, he wanted to learn more about his experience.

At the conclusion of the oral argument simulation, Dean Wendy Perdue led a discussion with the students, focusing on the significance of an oral argument and the importance of the moot court process in preparation for trial.

View a video of the oral argument simulation: