Diary of a First Time Mooter: by Sophia Sari

Three weeks after starting my LLB with the Open University, I entered the Open University Law Society’s (OULS) internal mooting competition. It was my first attempt at mooting as I had never heard about it before, only after receiving the OULS emails. I decided to give it a shot.

As I had missed the OULS mooting workshop, I gathered hints and tips from mooting websites and online videos before having a Skype tutorial with Abi Scott, who led me through all the different steps and gave this novice a fighting chance! I entered the competition as a learning exercise and to gain some experience – mooting is a must if you are pursuing a legal career.

A ‘bundle’ of the cases associated with the moot problem was emailed to the potential mooters. I prepared my skeleton argument (an outline of the grounds that I was going to argue) after going through the cases with a fine toothcomb, selecting the areas of the judgment that would allow me to back up my arguments. I prepared one for each side, as I could have been arguing either point.

Upon arriving at the mooting venue, I was glad to learn that I wasn’t the only first timer. I sat on a table with fellow first timers Georgia and Sunita, and the previous OULS internal mooting champion Peter Savory. Everyone was really friendly and Peter gave us all some invaluable advice. We were then called into rooms to begin the competition – the first round! The competition was being judged by fellow OU law students who were all experienced mooters. I was very nervous, however there was no need to be. I delivered my arguments, as did my fellow mooters, answering the judge’s questions if we were able and before we knew it, the first round was done. The judges had some time to deliberate and then gave us all some constructive feedback. The winners were promoted to the next round – much to my astonishment, I was among them!

This continued until the final. Suzannah, Olivia, Peter and I had a short while beforehand to perfect our arguments, and then we were up. We mooted our hearts out, breathing out a sigh of relief when the judges retired to their ‘chambers’. We all congratulated each other and speculated as to who we thought would win! The judges came back and gave their feedback, announcing the winner… me! I was shocked, as my competitors were certainly worthy adversaries.

I enjoyed the experience thoroughly and was lucky enough to represent the Open University in the Bristol University Inter-Varsity Moot with Abi Scott – although we didn’t win this time, there is always next time!

Mooting is an excellent way of honing your legal research abilities, giving you an opportunity to really apply the legal skills that you are learning as part of your degree. If you are able to try it, I would thoroughly recommend that you do, no matter what level of study you have reached. You definitely won’t regret it.

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