This post was written by Kerri Montgomery, a law student at Dundee University and Vice President of the Mooting Society.
Your law degree will present a whole host of opportunities: different modules to study, a wide and wonderful range of student societies, work experience, sports clubs… the list is endless. Every university will offer students the chance to moot, whether that be a module choice or in the form of a society. Mooting is perhaps one of the most useful and enjoyable activities which you can take part in as a law student. You’ll develop plenty of new skills, get to take part in competitions, make new friends, and you might just improve your coursework as well!
What is Mooting?
Mooting is a mock appeal case in which teams of two compete in front of a judge to argue on a specific point of law. Unlike most of the court cases you will see on TV, there are no witnesses to question and no evidence to bring. Instead, you are presented with a legal point which you and your co-counsel must argue successfully. Your argument will be backed up with legal authorities: previous cases and legislation and is some cases, legal writers.
Don’t worry, it’s much easier in practice. Preparation is key. Mooting is a worthwhile activity to get involved in, but it will take up a significant amount of time, especially as you progress to later stages in competitions, or if you take part in national or international competitions. While it may seem like coursework or exam prep is already taking up too much of your time, don’t let it discourage you from taking part in a mooting competition. Employers will want to see that you can manage your time well. Lawyers are expected to balance a number of cases all at once, so it will benefit you to learn how to manage your time while still at university.
Usually there will be opportunities to take part in competitions run within the university and in national or international competitions against teams from other universities. If you can, sign up for these. You will get to meet other students and judges from around the world, and the more competitions you can take part in the more your skills will develop. Some of these external competitions will focus on areas of law which you will not have the chance to study at university. This will be a huge benefit not only throughout your law degree, but throughout your career.
As well as the chance to meet new people and learn about new areas of law, there are a number of skills which you will develop through mooting. The preparation involved will develop your legal research skills, which will not only be great for your performance in moot court, but will also improve your coursework and grades overall. Similarly, your presentation and public speaking skills will notably improve every time you take part in a moot. Presentations are often something which even the most confident of students struggle with at university or in interviews. While standing in front of a judge presenting a legal argument may seem daunting, it will help your performance at those times when it really matters (think the training contract interview!)
Mooting is probably one of the best activities you can get involved in while at university. It is hard work, but so rewarding. Not only will you have the opportunity to develop the kinds of skills that will help you ace your degree and impress future employers, you will meet other students at all stages of the law degree, make new friends and may even get the chance to travel a bit!
Want to get involved? Take a look at your university’s’ website or Students Association website for more information on mooting. For some hints and tips, see our Complete Guide to Mooting post here.