In the last post from the ‘Teamwork’ season let’s make a step further and focus on something different than just your team. Whether you are a moot court novice or a veteran, you will notice that there are universities which have been participating in moot court competitions for many years. Some of them achieve a lot each and every year, while others never stand out. I admit that there are many reasons for it. Still, it is partly due to lack of knowledge continuity. Participants and coaches keep changing, there is no real stability and no environment to accumulate know-how. Of course, there are some tools that can give you a head start even if you have never taken part in a moot – like this blog, for instance 😉 However, it is far easier to succeed if you are backed by experience and knowledge of the past generations of mooties. If you do not have such tradition, then maybe it is worth to start it? Here are the steps you should take if you no longer want yourself, or others, to start from scratch every year:
- Maintain an e-mail address and an online file-sharing platform
I have mentioned several times here and there that to succeed in a moot you need communication tools slightly more sophisticated than your Facebook and Gmail. From your and future teams’ perspective the best solution would be to have:
– a professionally-looking e-mail (preferably affiliated to your university), so that you and future mooties can use the same account, preserve useful contacts or e-mail templates;
– a collaboration platform, which you can use to organize your tasks and communicate without distractions;
– a file hosting service, where you can store and exchange files, edit them online and preserve for the future.
Setting up this essential infrastructure takes time, so keeping it alive and passing on to the people who come after you saves them some time. More importantly, during every moot you accumulate files, knowledge and good practices that can be preserved within them, again making life of future teams easier and eliminating the need to chase former participants when something is necessary.
- Make sure your university cares
Universities and law schools vary significantly in terms of their approach towards mooting, the way they support and promote it. Some provide teams with excellent infrastructure, coaches, and supervise the training process, preceded by a competitive selection of candidates to the team. Others do absolutely nothing apart from acknowledging that a particular group of students is a team under their brand. Unsurprisingly, it is far easier to ensure continuity when a law school takes some responsibility for the team, helps with the selection process and at least attempts to create some institutional framework around it. If your university has not done it yet, then try to talk to the competent people and persuade them that it is within the university’s best interest.
- Become a coach
However, the best way to make sure that the know-how you acquire during a moot is not lost is to take the wheel and become a coach yourself! I owe every success achieved during mooting to my coaches that used to moot before me and took the time and effort to prepare people for the competition. Being a coach gives you some personal benefits – like staying in touch with the mooting community – but first and foremost increases the chances of success for your students. I also became a coach when I was too old to take part in competitions. And trust me, it is worth it!
All the best,