Have you heard of moot courts? If you have friends who have studied or are studying law, they will tell you that a moot court is unique to law schools. Basically, a moot court is a mock court in which students are given imaginary cases to prepare and argue. There are judges, who are from legal background and who judge which team performed better.
In a moot court setting, students get to prepare themselves for what lies ahead: undertaking extensive research, preparing arguments, drafting memorials, developing verbal skills, and others. Naturally, moot court competitions are very important for honing one’s resume. There are many prestigious international moot court competitions such as the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition and Price Media Law Moot Court Competition winning which add to the future prospects of students.
Moot Courts can be an intimidating experience, especially for newbies. I remember my first time being utterly nerve-racking and tiresome, but there are always ways to perform well in these competitions. Read on, and you will know how you can ensure a good moot court experience.
Here are 6 tips to keep in mind:
- Do Not Stick To One Source
Moot court preparation means that you will end up reading a number of cases, books, journals, articles and blogs. You will have to rummage through offline and online sources of information—and this very aspect can scare you.
We are often tempted to stick to one or a few sources of information because reading could become boring. However, if you want to fully understand the problem, you must refer to all kinds of sources so that nothing is left out. Many times problems are drafted in such a way so as to leave subtle clues behind, and you can identify these clues only when you have read enough.
- Read The Problem
This should have been at number one, but let it be. You start with the case-problem you have been given, and it is crucial that you get the hang of it before you proceed with research.
Many times, the problem seems very complicated to understand in one reading. Read it as many times as it takes, to fairly understand what the problem is about. You need not have a complete understanding of the problems; just a basic understanding of what it is about should do.
One advice I received was that the problem should be on the tip of your tongue. You read it so many times that you end up memorizing it—and this helps during oral rounds. Hence, do not take the problem lightly. It is the foundation of your research, and you must not go wrong with it.
- Wise Team Selection
Usually, it requires three people in a moot court team: two speakers and one researcher. While a researcher is called so, all three work together towards the making of the memorial and preparing for oral rounds.
Always choose your team wisely. Moot court is a lot of responsibility, and not many can handle it sincerely. In my university, teams fell apart over matters arising out of many reasons such as uninterested team member, poor research, and others.
Also, moot court preparation is at least a month job as a result of which you will end up spending a lot of time with your teammates. Make sure you choose those who are sincere, hardworking, and not repulsive.
- Judges Will Grill You
One of the greatest fears for any moot court participant is to face the judges. Well, their fears are not unfounded. Moot court judges are usually experienced individuals from the legal field and they love testing the knowledge and presence of mind of participants.
While many might think that judges in moot courts act mean, they do so to test whether you are able to sustain confidence under pressure and stick to what you have written. A future lawyer cannot break down under pressure and should know what to argue and when to argue.
Take it as a challenge and face judges with sheer confidence!
- Irrelevant Citations Do Not Help
Drafting a memorial requires a great many things, one of them being citations. During the research, we come across various sources and use material from them in the making of arguments. It is necessary to give due credit to these sources and cite them in our memorial.
While the idea of adding as many citations as you can sounds enticing, it may not end up doing what you thought it would. If you add irrelevant or unnecessary citations to your research just to add volume, you will add extra work for oral preparation and give greater room for judges to question you on what you have mentioned.
You are expected to know everything you have cited in the research, and hence, think properly before adding citations.
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