Were you a debater in High School? Ever compete in Public speaking competitions or Mock Trial? Wondering what will be your next step?
The Law Students Society runs many competitions that are a natural extension of those that you may have participated in or heard about over the course of your secondary education. This year at Wollongong University, we are running six internal competitions; Senior Moot, Junior Moot, Women’s Moot, Negotiation, Client Interviewing and Witness Examination.
Each competition is designed to test particular skill sets required of those in the legal profession, and success in each is highly regarded by peers and law firms alike.
Students who compete will interact with judges from both within the UOW Law Faculty, Legal Profession and Senior Competitors.
Participation in any of these competitions is not dependent on your past experience with public speaking centered tournaments. Each tournament is distinctly catered to law students, and as such, what is required from each competitor is almost entirely different from that required of debaters and public speakers.
Why should I participate?
It is true that participating in competitions can be quite time consuming. Mooting in particular involves quite a significant commitment, with preparation for each moot equaling the amount of time spent on your average mid semester assignment. It can also be quite intimidating at first, speaking before your peers and a judge – but these drawbacks are far outweighed by the advantages of a career in university advocacy.
- It cements your knowledge of the law and is great revision
- Looks excellent on your CV (employers like to see students who get involved)
- Develops skills required for a future in the legal profession
- Mooting and making a presentation to a judge may be a required assessment later in your degree (LLB 140)
- It develops your ability to communicate and argue about the finer points of law
- Great way to meet and build relationships with your peers and make connections with older students and lecturers
- Competition finalists are frequently sponsored to compete at the Australian Law Student’s Annual Conference and in inter-varsity competitions
Competitions at UOW
There are extremely popular competitions in both junior and senior years. Teams of two or three will be given a problem question in which they will be required to argue one for of the parties in front of a judge.
There are three internal mooting competitions at UOW, the Junior Moot (1st and 2nd year students), the Senior Moot (3rd year+) and the Women’s Moot.
Criminal Advocacy Competition
This competition is the first of its kind in Australia, and will debut in 2019. This competition will focus on the skills required of legal graduates to prepare documents for, and present in court, in bail or sentencing matters. This competition will have a strong practical focus and help you get your head around crucial legislative provisions and principles.
In Client Interviewing, a team of two lawyers interviews a potential client in order to understand their legal situation, and suggest some possible areas of future action by both the client and lawyer. The trick of client interviewing lies in the interviewer’s ability to obtain all relevant information from the client, identify possible ethical issues and communicate effectively with their partner.
In the Negotiation Competition, two teams consisting of two ‘lawyers’ each appear on behalf of hypothetical clients to consult with each other in an attempt to achieve a compromise and resolve issues between the two parties. Teams must both make concessions and hold their ground, depending on which areas of the proceedings are flexible and which are important to their client. Points will be awarded for each person’s ability to cooperate, communicate and attain as advantageous a position as possible for the person, group or corporation they are representing.
Witness Examination (WitEx)
Can you handle the truth? If so, we would put it to you that the WitEx competition is for you!
As a competitor in Witness Examination Competition, you will act as counsel in a mock court scenario, where you will examine and interrogate two witnesses in order to provide a clearer answer to a particular legal problem, by revealing the “facts”, and persuading the judge in favour of your version of events. One competitor acts as counsel for the Prosecution and the other acts as counsel for the Defendant. You will examine two witnesses: one witness of the prosecution and one for the defence. The competition is recommended for those who have completed Evidence Law, however, this is not a pre-requisite.
Intervarsity Criminal Law Moot
Teams from across the country come to UOW to participate in the UOW Intervarsity Criminal Law Moot. Teams of two to three students moot a criminal law case on appeal and develop their criminal advocacy skills. UOW enters two competitively selected teams in this competition, and Grand Finalists are adjudicated by a three-judge panel, including UOW’s Judge in Residence, Terry Buddin SC.
Samantha SharpeVP (External Comps)
Emily O’LoughlinVP (Internal Comps)
Kirsten PenningsComps Officer
Jacob MorathComps Officer
Angus MullinsComps Officer
Charles BailleulComps Officer
Theodore TotsisComps Officer
I’m Samantha! I’m in my third year of Bachelor of Law/Arts and I am your Vice-President of External Competitions. I moved from my small town home to attend UOW, but Wollongong is a very welcoming place and the Law Student Society is here to make everything easier and more fun for you. I have worked in politics previously and I am also involved in other clubs and societies on campus, so you will see me around.
My role as VP Comps is to organise and facilitate students competing in external competitions such as the Intervarsity Criminal Law Moot which is a state-wide mooting competition. This year the competitions will be more accessible with masterclasses and coaching to help everyone get involved. My competitive streak has led me to this role and I want to make sure UOW students are recognised for their skills on an interstate level. Feel free to come and chat with me about any questions regarding external competitions – employers love to see students competitively developing their skills and engaging with extra-curricular activities.