The die is cast – you have decided to take part in a moot. However, the decision you make is just the first step. Many more have to follow before you change your mind, find out you have far too little time for it or get dissuaded by your couple. Let’s start with the 5 most important ones!
- Find a moot
This is evidently the most crucial part. First and foremost, try to pick a moot that interest you, is relevant for your career plans and feels like a project you will enjoy working on. Ask your friends or professors for recommendations, google a little or check out this post. This will help you see what is out there and what interests you most.
- Check eligibility criteria
…and do it before you get too excited. Competitions are always formalized and have their deadlines for registration, payment of fees, etc. It is no use to learn about a perfect moot you would love to take part in if it is already half-way trough. Or, that it only accepts students at a certain stage of their education (and you are not yet/have already been there). Or, that it is limited in scope to one country or continent. So, once you find something, do what every lawyer would and read the rules!
- Check your institution’s requirements
To take part in a moot, usually you have to be a student. This means you will be acting within the institutional framework of the establishment you are affiliated with. This can have advantages (like, covering the participation fee with university funds), but implies certain obligations. Universities vary in their approach to mooting, creation of teams and related activities. I have seen everything: from institutions having no clue what a moot court actually is to law schools that require people to enroll a year earlier for a ‘shadow team’, supporting the real team before they get the chance to official take part in the following edition the next year. And it goes beyond that! There are law schools which give people a semester-long leave just to work on the moot and universities that even refuse to spare a room once a week so that a team can meet and work together. In any event, it is important to check if and how your university approaches the moot court you would like to take part in.
- Find teammates
As I keep saying, moot court is not a solo act. It is unlikely you will be able to handle it on your own (even assuming you can somehow circumvent most of the rules that require a team, so at least two or three participants, to take part). In consequence, you have to find the right people. Unless your university does it for you by officially recruiting a team, it is often up to you and your friends to organize something on your own. Try to find people who will be equally excited about the idea as you are, motivated to work hard and just likable – believe me, you will be spending a lot of time together.
- Find a coach
Most of the moot courts I know allow each team to have a couch (or even a couple of them). It works just as in case of sport coaches – this guy will not play instead of you, but will help you get things right. I cannot stress enough how useful it is to be coached and will surely elaborate on that in future .posts. What you should is that if it is the first time they have something to do with a moot, they might not have the strictly moot-related know-how. No worries – this is my job to feed you with this kind of information 😉 However, an academic or a practitioner will surely help you with the merits of the case you will be working on.