Friday, April 11, 2008

Moot point

This week I have been very busy with Moot Court at law school. Moot court is a competition among the 1Ls where we present a fake case to an "appellate court" (really three local attorneys, professors, or students). I had my first round on Tuesday evening and then was able to advance to the second round, which was last night.

During the days leading up to the competition, I really dreaded having to compete. I just did not want to go because it made me so nervous! Everybody knows how nervous I get when I have to speak in front of people---my friends have told me that I should not go into litigation and instead practice in an area where I do not actually need to appear in court because I go crazy with worry.

This competition is even worse, however, because while you have an outline that you need to read and argue, the judges are able to interrupt and ask you questions whenever they want. So you may be talking and then one of them starts talking and you have to be quiet and listen---and their questions are not necessarily on the same point you are discussing. Plus they have lots of cases about which they can ask you, and if you have not read the case to which they refer, you are in trouble.

However, these competitions were a lot better than I expected. On Tuesday, I actually enjoyed discussing my case with the judges, and yesterday I really got into playing the attorney for my client. David got to come watch me last night and I think he was impressed.

When I finished, my judges told me that I should be a jury trial lawyer, because I did a great job spinning the case so that the other side seems like they just want money, and also because I kept my arguments pretty emotional and theatrical. Unfortunately, this was not the point of this competition, because when you go to real appeals court there is no jury to impress, but rather a group of judges with whom you discuss law and who are not easily swayed with emotion.

Also, apparently I did not have enough deference for the judges, which stemmed from my referring to questions they had asked my opponent and construing it as their "admitting" my facts, which is apparently not good practice. I also accidentally referred to them as "you all" at one point. Oops....I was just excited!

This is so funny because nobody (even me) would probably pick me out as being someone who may enjoy trial practice, but after last night and having a more fun with the competition than I expected, I have an open mind about the possibility. Speaking in front of a court was a lot of fun, and apparently I am not horrible at it, so I will look forward to more competitions in the future.


kisa said...

It was so cool seeing you and Sean in action in the courtroom!

Kathy said...

How exciting! We're proud of you.