Mooting – a key skill and rite of passage for all law students?

According to an article written by City Law School, “the skills achieved while mooting are life changing”.   

As a student who has both mooted, and assisted mooting teams I have seen first hand the benefits.  The confidence you gain standing up and presenting your argument puts you in good stead for your future career (even if that is not in the field of law). 

It is however the skills gained and developed during the preparation which are crucial.  Mastering the art of writing a fault proof skeleton argument is necessary, that teamed with the ability of researching significant (and most importantly relevant!) law to back up your argument is vital.  Then you need to present this argument, in a coherent manner and with persuasion.

These skills, are not only important for Mooting, but for law students in general – as a student it is important that when writing essays you do not waste your time reading irrelevant cases, that you can pinpoint the significant judgements and insert these correctly into your essay so that you can persuade the marker and also show that you believe in your argument. (You may never fully believe in your argument but you need to have an opinion either way.  You need to demonstrate to the marker that you have an argument and that you are sticking to your opinion – even when debating the other side).

So Mooting, it is an invaluable skill, and I am so grateful to have been part of the Advocacy Team at Hertfordshire University since I started.  My confidence in public speaking has grown so much, I feel I am able to stand up and present an argument and be put on the spot when the Judge asks me questions.  I know that I can produce a skeleton argument, and then develop this argument further when I am presenting it.  

So many law students turn down the idea of partaking in Mooting, because they do not like the idea of standing up and speaking in front of others, but it is something you will have to do in any walk of life, be that talking to clients or representing your client in court. There are so many internal and external competitions to get involved in, and I think every student should have a go at Mooting.  Not least because as City Law School state, “Among other benefits it helps students to think on their feet.”  They also write that, “Long established as a kind of rite of passage for law students, mooting is where the aspirant advocates of the future cut their teeth.  It gives them their first encounter in a competitive environment with the need to deploy legal knowledge and argument while also facing rigorous challenges from a “judge” (often a real one).

I personally could not agree more with the above from City Law School, as it really is a beneficial skill.  Whilst they (in their article) go on to state that Mooting, sorts out the future barristers from the solicitors, I only partially agree.  Whilst Mooting is a reality check on how comfortable someone is speaking in public, this is a skill which can be developed and improved on.  Plus solicitors do need to have confidence in speaking, and whilst someone may try mooting and realise that being in court is not for them, if it improves their overall confidence in speaking and formulating an argument to help their client in an office, then surely that is still a benefit!

The skills required to be a successful mooter are essential for anyone entering any legal profession, and for any law students out there I would highly recommend getting involved – even if you do not enter any internal or external competitions, you will certainly benefit from mooting with and amongst your fellow students!

Rebecca x


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