Law students are busy people. At least, me and my friends used to be when we were still in law school. With so many developing activities available to us nowadays, it might be hard to choose which is the one we really should prioritise.
Here are 5 reasons (not necessarily in this order of importance) why you should take part in a moot, instead of doing something else.
- You get to see and know the law in action
The core of every moot court is the case that you have to solve. You do it roughly the same way as real lawyers do. This is a unique opportunity to use your knowledge in practise and start getting better at it earlier.
Although stark contrast between what academia provides and what industry expects has been discussed a thousand times, many universities and law schools maintain the good old learn-the-code-by-heart attitude. It is your job to take a step further.
- You develop your writing skills
In the legal world writing is essential (though rarely covered in the series about lawyers – far too time-consuming for an action-packed episode). Briefs, contracts, submissions, opinions… You will produce and receive plenty of them, and they do matter.
Once a deal is signed, the language of what you created may decide your client’s fate. Judges and arbitrators who solve a dispute make up their mind about it long before they see you in a courtroom just by reading your memoranda. Mastering legal writing is crucial and the sooner you start, the better.
- You are going to speak better
Speaking in a clear, persuasive, concise and engaging way is a skill few people have. However, most of us will give countless presentations and speeches or participate in multiple interviews and discussions throughout our lifetime.
After a moot court experience you are much less likely to leave your audience sleeping or lost. Moot court oral argument is all about conveying a lot by using few words in a way that makes others feel like listening to you. And I guarantee – lessons learnt during moot courts will pay dividend not only in the courtroom.
- You can boost your language skills
In the business environment excellent level of written and spoken English (and often other languages as well) is a must. It applies in particular to the legal industry. And by “excellent” I mean it – there is a huge difference between being able to order a beer in a pub and drafting a complex contract. The best way to learn or improve it is by practise. I have seen many people who did not feel confident with e.g. their English and improved enormously in the course of preparations for a moot.
Even when you practise law in your mother tongue, you need to be fluent in its legal type There are hundreds of memes out there on the Internet mocking the way lawyers talk and think. Well – not without a reason. Your job is to use this language as your tool and be able to explain it to your clients who usually have no clue what it means.
- You learn to work in a team
Lack of ability to work smoothly with others allegedly plagues people nowadays, including young, aspiring lawyers. The reasons are not relevant – what matters is that this skills contributes to your success or failure in professional life.
If you want to take part in a moot and succeed, you need a team. You are often required to apply as one, and for a good reason: the amount of work to be done would be impossible to handle for one or even two people, unless they decide not to sleep for a couple of months. Dividing tasks, effective communication, sticking to deadlines, software used to boost team’s performance… You will need to learn how to deal with these issues sooner or later.
These five reasons are by no means an exhaustive list. However, when I think of what my moot courts gave me in terms of professional development, they definitely come on top.