What is all this hype over Moot Court?
The hype is about the fact that UDM's Moot Court board has reached the point in the fall semester where its National teams start hitting the road, the Advanced Advocacy briefs are coming due, and the Ernie Goodman Mock trial competition takes place. Basically, the Moot Court board is BUSY!
First, in the past two weeks two teams have gone out to represent UDM's Moot Court in two National Competitions. Yesterday, we received some very exciting news that one of the teams made it all the way to the finals! In my three years here at UDM, I cannot recall news like that (my sincere apologies if I am experiencing a memory lapse) and it is a huge accomplishment not only for the advocates that worked so hard to get there but also for the professors and fellow students that coached them as well as for UDM as a whole. It is fantastic to see hard work really pay off and hopefully it is motivating to the rest of the board to try to maintain the trend throughout the rest of the year...I guarantee you the ABA team intends to give it their best shot ;)
Next: Advanced Advocacy. Last year at this very time, I was hating everything about Advanced Advocacy. (Ok, except the professor, I did like her and it wouldn't be very smart not to disclose that here!) Today, I would actually support it becoming a required course. Advanced Advocacy is a legal writing class that tosses you into the deep end of the pool without a flotation device and forces you to write your first appellate brief from start to finish. It is horrible, yet invaluable. As a board member of Moot Court it is a required course and part of your overall grade is based on an oral argument that you give to a panel of "judges." The upper-class board members help to coach their fellow board members through their Advanced Advocacy argument, and that part is pretty fun. I'll be the first to admit that public speaking is not my favorite pastime, but being able to provide help to others is nice. In a way, it actually reminds me of how much I've actually learned and that is a bit rewarding.
Last but not least is the Ernie Goodman Mock Trial Competition that took place just this past weekend. Ernie Goodman is different from a regular moot court competition in that the advocates go through an entire trial instead of just an oral argument. The competitors had to prepare and question witnesses, compile a trial notebook, deliver opening and closing statements as well as admit evidence. 16 teams of 2 competed, and the final round is this Wednesday. It is a great way to work on those types of skills if you really want to be a litigator. I was fully satisfied participating as a witness and was happy to lend a hand to some classmates in doing so.
So there you have it, the hype on campus is over the fact that the Moot Court board is working hard and getting out there representing UDM! Off campus, and more relevant to any prospective law student is that Moot Court gives students the chance to fine tune their oral advocacy and legal writing skills. Typically, most students will admit that they are usually better at one than the other. If that sounds interesting to you, then be sure to pay attention in ALTA your first year!