Be a better mooter with these five tips

Charlotte Roache, James Vercoe and Lecturer Kylie Burns

For the uninitiated, mooting is a simulated court trial. Mooters prepare with legal research, develop legal arguments, and present to a judge in a courtroom. One of the benefits of mooting is applying your legal skills in a controlled environment.

Griffith Law School students Charlotte Roache and James Vercoe are award-winning mooters, and earlier this year, beat the University of Sydney to take out the prestigious QUT Shine Lawyers Torts Moot competition, in a case involving medical negligence.

We cross-examined them both for their best mooting tips.

Explore every option

James encourages mooters to “chase the rabbit” hiding within their hypothetical case. Don’t ignore minor issues. Prepare an explanation in anticipation of a judge asking if this affects your case.

Presentation skills can be refined

Charlotte says that a lot of law students avoid moots because they worry about how they speak. Focus instead on your preparation. With practice and coaching, your delivery and expression will sharpen over time.

Don’t be afraid to engage

If a judge starts to interact with you from the bench, there’s no need to panic. Charlotte and James both point out that questions from the judge are helpful and aren’t necessarily traps either.

Handwrite your notes

Charlotte suggests drawing up two columns in a notebook. On the left, list everything you need to cover and on the right list your cases and arguments. This method will help you memorise all the information you need. Re-write your notes after each moot practice to reinforce your memorisation.

Be the first in the room

While it has no bearing on the outcome of the moot, James suggests that you get into the room as early as you can. Spend that time setting yourself up and mentally preparing for the upcoming moot.

Bonus tip: Be yourself

Our bonus tip is from Griffith Law School student Brittany May, who participated in the intense Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot.

“You may say to yourself, I really want to sound like them and speak like they do but you’ll just hinder yourself. Learn your way of doing and saying things,” says Brittany.

Through practice, you’ll discover your voice and how you like to prepare for moots. When that time comes, embrace it.