Making competitive moot points count

Making competitive moot points count

May 16, 2014


By Nancy Dorrance, Senior Development Writer

Thinking on their feet, improvising under pressure and working as a team – these important skills enabled law students Emily Evangelista, Law’15, and Ben Snow, Law’14, to help their Queen’s teams capture first place at two key mooting competitions this spring.

Now, as the result of a $100,000 gift from Toronto litigation firm Lenczner Slaght, Queen’s will be able to further expand and deepen the range of mooting opportunities it can offer its students, giving them the chance to hone their courtroom skills in a real-life environment.

[Moot court competition]Law students hone their courtroom skills by preparing for moot competitions. A $100,000 gift by Toronto litigation firm Lenczner Slaght will allow the Faculty of Law to deepen the range of mooting opportunities it can offer students.

“Experiential learning has long been an integral part of our students’ legal education,” says Faculty of Law Dean Bill Flanagan. “Our Competitive Moot Court Program allows upper-year students to develop essential legal research and written and oral advocacy skills. With the generous support of our alumni and friends at Lenzcner Slaght, we will continue to provide a first-class range of mooting opportunites for our students.”

Each year, teams from Queen’s compete in up to 20 national and international mooting competitions in a wide range of legal areas including constitutional law, Aboriginal law, criminal law, international law, tax, securities law, environmental law, trade law, commercial arbitration, IP, labour arbitration, trial advocacy and client counselling. At least one-third of all law graduates participate in a competitive moot during their time at Queen’s: among the highest participation rates of any law school in Canada.

“Lenczner Slaght is committed to the development of our advocates of tomorrow,” says Peter Griffin, Law ’77, the firm’s Managing Partner, past president of The Advocates’ Society and member of the Dean’s Council. “We are delighted to be a strong supporter of the Queen’s Moot Court Program.”

Mooting forced me to take principles that I’d spent hours reading and hearing about, and learn how to communicate them with persuasive precision.

– Ben Snow (Law'14)

For Ms. Evangelista and Mr. Snow, the opportunity to develop their own unique advocacy skills at competitive moots has proved invaluable. “The best way to learn how to do anything is by practicing, and mooting is the best advocacy practice you can get,” says Ms. Evangelista, whose Queen’s team recently won the Canadian rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition – the largest and most competitive moot in the world. (See page 3 of the Gazette newspaper for more details).

“There's no other course in law school like it,” she adds. “And employers also take note of moot participation: every interviewer I've had has asked about my experience on the Jessup team.”

“Mooting forced me to take principles that I’d spent hours reading and hearing about, and learn how to communicate them with persuasive precision,” says Mr. Snow, a member of the Queen’s team that brought home the 2014 Arnup Cup for trial advocacy. “The program connected me with experienced coaches who provided essential guidance and mentorship. Most importantly, mooting created an unparalleled, fail-safe opportunity to take risks, receive constructive feedback and build confidence as I developed these skills.”

The Initiative Campaign is the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the university’s history. The goal is to raise half a billion dollars to ensure Queen’s future as a destination for exceptional people. The campaign will nurture a supportive campus community, enhance the student learning experience, and secure a global reputation in discovery and inquiry.