The art of proper presentation and thinking on your feet is essential to any lawyer out there. The mere thought of this is something that gives goosebumps to all first-year law students who don’t know if they can handle it. You can practice in front of the mirror all you want, but the truth is – you won’t really learn how to do it until you are in your first moot court, standing, looking at the judges while they sift through your arguments and the opposing side waiting for their chance to make your arguments weaker then theirs. Oh, and the clock is ticking.
It sounds terrifying? Ok, fair enough. But I must confess: it is one of the most exciting things about law school. I love mooting. It is competitive, fun and needless to say educational and skill-improving. When I remember my first moot court experience a few years ago, I burst out laughing at my anxiety about it. And then, as soon as it started, I realised how much I love it.
I mean, you have probably seen an episode (or two) of Suits or other lawyers’ series so you can sort of imagine how it looks like to plead for your case in court. (real life court sessions are less dramatic and far less allowing of weird manoeuvres with legal norms, but that’s a whole different topic)
Seeing as mooting improves so many essential skills needed for a lawyer, my Master programme in International Human Rights Law at Lund University naturally has moot courts as part of our overall grade in a few courses. So, we had our first one last week!
We were split into teams and given a case. I had an awesome team and it was so much fun to work with them! Through thick and thin, we made it (with a little help of caffeine and cookies)! We had less than a week to work on the case and we worked like crazy! We were in group meetings all day, every day and late nights were spent at the library with take-out.
As usual in moot courts, we had to send in a written submission first, and then plead in front of the judges and the opposing team. A typical moot court is divided into opening remarks by both sides, and then 2 rebuttals per team later on. Naturally, a judge can interrupt your presentation at any time and pose a question that you ought to answer on the spot.
And this is how it looked like in the court session