When thinking about lawyers, the first thing that comes to mind for most people is probably an advocate in wig and gown, theatrically proving their legal prowess in court. And, frankly, the most exciting bit of Legally Blonde was not all the time Elle spent in the library but when we were cheering her on as she won her first trial and showed everyone how serious she was about being a lawyer. Given how much popular culture is steeped in the idea of lawyers’ primary occupation being to battle it out in court, then, it might be considered surprising that more law students don’t decide to give it a go themselves and have a shot at mooting, especially because of how beneficial mooting can be to both your academics and employability. In this blog, I am therefore going to attempt to think about some of the reasons students might be hesitant to start mooting, and dispel those myths.
“I don’t want to be an advocate, so there’s no point in mooting”
If you don’t want to set foot in court after university, that doesn’t mean the experience you gain from mooting isn’t helpful. All lawyers need to be able to extract the important information from cases, conduct legal research and apply their knowledge to a problem, so the skills you develop in mooting are still very important. Even if you don’t want to be a lawyer at all, most employers will look favourably on someone who has proven they can manage their time while taking on extra-curriculars, can speak in public and communicate a point clearly – so mooting still gives you lots of transferable skills.
“Mooting is too much work, and I’ve not got time”
Everyone is already so busy studying for a law degree, so you might think there’s no way you could fit in mooting too. But preparing for a moot doesn’t take as much time as you might think – you’re always given grounds of appeal and maybe cases to get you started, and you’re working with a partner so if you split up the research it’s not too burdensome. While moots do take some time, it really is time well spent – you learn so much more about the substance of law when you research it yourself, and improve your analytical skills when you apply cases to your own problem, so it’s a great way to improve your abilities for your degree overall.
“Mooting is boring”
While you can’t fall in love with every class you take, most of us will find at least some areas of law which we enjoy, and when you moot you are debating the contentious or unclear areas of law, which means you get to focus on the most interesting parts. But even if you find studying law a bit dull in the abstract, when you moot you’re not just learning the law but trying to argue how it suits your case – you have a cause which you’re fighting for, and that puts a whole new slant on legal research. Once you get to presenting your case to a judge, it can be really exciting to think on your feet and represent your side.
“You need to be really clever and confident to be able to moot”
If you’re doing a law degree, there’s no reason to think you haven’t got the ability to prepare for a moot too – you’re drawing on the skills and knowledge which you already have. Plus, mooting can actually improve your grades and learning because it hones your research abilities and the way you think about law – and once you’ve mooted on an area of law, you’ll probably remember it much more clearly than you did after sitting in a lecture theatre! As for confidence – taking part in a moot for the first time makes you realise it isn’t as scary as you thought, and the more you moot, the more confident you will be.
“There isn’t a way to easily get involved in mooting”
If you want to try mooting, there’s lots of ways to do this! The Mooting Society has a twitter account you can follow for updates (@MootingUofG) and you should join the Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/272268563179444/ where information about how to get involved is shared throughout the year. Every year, there is an internal competition called the Deans Cup, and training/practice moots such as Monday Mooting, speed mooting and workshops, as well as lots of chances to clerk or watch moots – so if you want to get involved, there are plenty of ways to do it.
3rd Year LLB and Mooting Society President