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Moot Courts: Never Underestimate One

For those who have no idea of what Moot Courts are. For those who don´t understand why people travel around the world participating in law competitions. For those who think it´s an easy task. For those who are not familiarized with the term “Moot Court”. Here is the explanation.  I´m one of the biggest fans and I´ll tell you why.

A Moot Court is a mock trial that has a written part (in most cases) but focuses on the oral pleadings. There are Moot Courts related to all kinds of subjects, for example: public international law, trade law, investment law, human rights law, criminal law, etc. Schools organize Moot Courts with local students (law students or even lawyers pursuing an LLM even). But the fun part is when it gets international.

But, how does this work? I will focus this section on explaining how most international moot courts work, since there are plenty. Each year, a great number of students from all over the world enhance in this kind of academic exercise. The case is released, more or less, six months in advance, which of course is made of pure fiction (there are all levels of fiction). Then, teams begin with a non-stop research work until forever. After a couple of weeks/months, the writing part begins. By personal experience, I can tell the writing part is also very educational. Coming from a civil-law country we are not used to write legal English that much. Thus, learning how to write properly definitely contributes to our careers. After hours, minutes and seconds of anxiety when sending the written submissions before the due date, everyone feels a relief. However, it´s just the beginning.

The oral pleadings are the most fun part! Even if that sounds geek, only the ones that have participated in Moot Courts before know that feeling. After you have been studying and practicing the same subject for six months, believe me, you just want to make your team proud and delight the judges/panelists/arbitrators. Of course is also the most challenging part. Like when the judge/panelist/arbitrator asks you a question that you haven´t consider for the past months and for which you have no answer; or like when there are so many questions that you just won´t have time to present all your arguments. That´s part of the fun and challenging part! We´re becoming lawyers, we know how to solve that. Then, after considering scores during oral pleadings and written submissions, one team must win, of course.

In general terms that´s what a Moor Court is. Of course there are people that think that Moot Courts are a waste of time and money. Obviously they haven´t participated in one yet. Believe me, people that for any reason has been involved in Moot Courts appreciate that in your CV, and would read underlines what the experience says about you. There is much more than a simple competition. It´s an opportunity to improve your writing and oral skills. I am 100% sure that no one ever participated in a Moot Court without doing that, at least improving one of those two. Also, it´s the perfect scenario for networking with those that will be your future colleagues. And last but not least, it´s the perfect excuse to travel with your new best friends. Who can say no to Mooting?

To Ane, Alex, Javier y Pablo, who won´t let me lie about anything I´ve written here.


Image source: flickr

Rocio Monzón

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