Mooting is the exercise where legal practice and academia cross paths. A moot is a mock appeal on a contentious point of law. The mooter’s role is to persuade the judge that their side of the appeal is correct, referring to primary and secondary sources of law. Mooting is an excellent way to gain transferable skills ahead of practice.
At Nottingham Law School at Nottingham Trent University, most Law courses require students to take part in assessed moots. Assessed mooting as part of the curriculum is attractive to employers who notice the importance of mooting and recognise the skills that mooting offers.
We also have our own Mooting Club that offers a ‘crash course’ on mooting to assist students in the development of skills ahead of the assessments. The club is student-led and offers students the opportunity to compete in external mooting competitions. There are many benefits of external mooting, including the opportunity to network, represent your university and travel the country (or even further afield). Our academic mooting coordinator, Catarina Sjölin Knight, works very hard to ensure that the competitions run smoothly and students who take part are well supported.
Our Law Society, LEX, offers students the opportunity to take part in internal mooting competitions. The society organises a competition every year, with great prizes on offer– most notably, a mini-pupilage at a prestigious chambers.
In my opinion, the most enjoyable elements of mooting are legal research and networking. Mooting requires independent legal research. The research is very enjoyable as it allows you to explore areas of law that you may have never faced. It also gives you the opportunity to develop your research skills, making research quicker and stronger. Mooting allows you to network with professionals and other students who share a common interest. The profession is rather collegiate and the people you network with are likely to remember you!
An element of mooting is the ability to pre-empt the arguments, which are likely to be raised by opposing mooters in order to respond to the differing argument raised. This can be challenging, particularly on a point of law which can be argued from many angles. The best way around this challenge is to focus on your own argument and take note of the weaker points and holes within it. Skeleton arguments are exchanged in advance of the moot itself. This gives you the opportunity to spend some time responding directly to the arguments raised by opposing mooters. Preparing the response, and responding during oral submissions, is challenging, yet exciting.
Throughout my time at Nottingham Law School, I have been involved in mooting. Joining the Nottingham Law School Mooting Club allowed me to represent the School in numerous national and international competitions. I have represented the Law School in London on several occasions and I have competed in Belfast, in the Queens University Belfast and Herbert Smith Freehills Commercial and Corporate Mooting Competition. Not only did this give me the opportunity to travel to Belfast, which is a lovely city, but it also gave me the chance to moot in front of some of the most renowned professionals in the UK.
This year, I became President of the Nottingham Law School Mooting Club. The mooting club is led by myself and Alex Lucas. Together, we assist students ahead of their assessed moots by coaching, presenting workshops and offering advice. We have prepared and delivered presentations to the panel members and the student body of Nottingham Law School.
I am so grateful to the University for giving me the chance to practice mooting to help me develop the transferrable skills needed for a professional career – I would certainly recommend mooting.