Undergraduate Advocacy – Bored of Mooting??gregorysmith
About time for another entry….
Hello everyone, firstly I would like to apologise (you have no idea how many times I do that in my blogs) for the lateness of another blog entry. Second year LL.B certainly takes the wind out of you compared to first year. I have certainly found that this year is far more intensive and plus I’m doing some serious bitchy modules – Land, Equity, Criminal and Commercial….I’m not gonna love this year!
So whilst juggling a degree, part time job, columnist, bar society president and repping for national student pride, trying to upload a blog entry can be difficult, so I thought I would treat myself on a Friday night, and hopefully my readers to another blog entry.
Changing the face of undergraduate advocacy….
This blog post will give me a chance to really document why and what I’m doing with Mock Trials, in the execution of this project I’ve not really had a moment to stop and really think.
So, everyone heard of mooting? Yes? Good. Talking and tweeting last year, it is of the opinion of many students and many professionals that they find mooting completely boring, actually one consenting opinion came from the lecturer who judged my moot first year, which I thought was charming.
Everyone I spoke to thought that mock trials gave a more realistic application of the law, they found it more enjoyable and far more engaging, and they thought it strengthened a student’s advocacy skills far greater than that of mooting…so.
I went looking for a mock trial competition at undergraduate level, I assumed there had to be something as there are hundreds of mooting competitions. Do you know what I found?
There was not one single intra-university mock trial competition in the United Kingdom and this is what I seek to rectify this year and the next.
I plan to execute the first intra-university mock trial competition that this country has seen and potentially change the face of undergraduate advocacy and hopefully improve the prospects of undergraduate students seeking a career at the bar.
Well in my capacity as Bar Society President, I created a training program specifically targeted at mock trials and involve such training sessions as introduction to court language and introduction to examination in chief and cross examination. Both actually running this Monday and Tuesday.
The trial papers, training materials and assessment grids have all been commissioned by me and now ready to use this year. So I thought why can’t I get other universities involved.
So I got tweeting, emailing and eventually this lead to me being appointed as President of the Bar Society, a UK Law Students Association Liaison officer which brought me into direct access with every Law Society President in the country. I confirmed my 10th University this morning.
So effectively, I have planned 10 intra-university mock trials this year, I had to see if the program could run effectively before initiating it as a mock trial competition, which I hope will run in proper competition format next year. I have already begun to plan dates and venues. I’m hoping the Royal Courts of Justice or the Supreme Court can host the finals next year in the second semester.
Well, my current plans relate to finding professional accreditation and support from Inns of Court, Chambers and Solicitors Firms, a program such as this is not going to be cheap to execute and I’m hoping that I can get some substantial sponsorship sorted so awards can be granted.
I’m hoping to establish regional heats so not everyone has to travel to Swansea to participate and I doubt my law school or Barrister’s involved in the program could accommodate the workload, so I’m hoping to establish regional liaison universities whereby they can host a mock trial, get a participating Barrister or Judge to judge it and then record the scores of the winning team – each region then will enter 1 team into the semi finals – to be held in London.
The two winning teams will then progress to the finals and the winning team will then walk away with a cash prize.
Of course, saying it and doing it are two completely different things, this program needs to be advertised and I’m hoping that many legal publications such as the solicitors’ journal and young lawyer magazine could advertise it to build interest.
What I didn’t anticipate…
I didn’t anticipate the amount of involvement from different universities this year and I now have to start seriously considering the plan for next semester. I need to see if it works before approaching firms and although this year has barely begun, I feel like I’m running out of time to organise such an endeavour.
I would like to thank everyone for reading, the above post was a chance for me to really get things of my chest and to formulate a plan in my head. I know its a bit scrambled but I hope it was readable.
If any university would like to enter, please feel free to email me at [email protected] or I believe my twitter is linked to this blog.
Gregory W Smith