Top 10 tips for mooting
In light of the recent moot tryouts for upper year students, we at De Minimis decided to put together a list of the top 10 tips for how to be a successful mooter and, eventually, a successful advocate. The following list was compiled in consultation with past mooters (well, it would have been, but I’ve been too busy).
1) Yell loudly
You want to yell your argument at the top of your lungs at the judges. This approach ensures that every point you make leaves an impression, most notably on their eardrums.
2) Flail arms emphatically
Someone with reasoned hand gestures will only bore the panel, leading to a situation where the judges are more likely doodling on a page than listening to your arguments. Waving your arms around as much as possible keeps judges on the edge of their seats.
3) What to do when you’re stumped
If a judge asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, your best strategy will be the “head in the sand” approach. Developed by toddlers everywhere, you just put your hands over your ears and yell, “I’m not listening! I’m not listening!” As a result, the judges will be more likely to move on to your next point. Confused and concerned looks from the bench should reinforce your feeling that the strategy worked effectively.
4) Speak as quickly as possible
Have you ever had to sit through one these things? Believe me, everyone around will appreciate it if you would just speak faster and finish quickly. Pausing is also not encouraged, so if you must (and only if you must), use as many filler words as possible to avoid the room being silent (ummm, ahhh, hmmmm).
5) Have no structure
By not bothering to structure your argument, you will shock and awe with surprise statements and attacks on your “friend’s” argument. Who knows, you may even surprise yourself! And isn’t that really the point of mooting?
6) Do not make eye contact
My personal favourite strategy is to look at the ceiling, as it better projects my voice across the entire room. Of course, this is if you have what you’re going to say memorized, and who has time for that? It may therefore be best to keep your eyes focused on your notes, and never look up until you hear the applause.
7) Cut off judges asking too many questions
If a judge insists on asking questions and is not letting you advance to your next point, cut him or her off. Some strong statements that will help you do this include, “Excuse me, can you please stop?!”, “I’m trying to move on here!”, “We get it, you’re a judge!”, and “With all due respect, your honour, shut your idiot pie hole.”
8) Insult your “Friends”
Let’s face it, this is a competition and they’re not your “friends.” Throw in character disparaging comments throughout your argument. This way the judges will be more likely to find your arguments persuasive, and less likely to believe the crazy guy who is still a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Who could possibly still be a fan? Like, c’mon.
9) Use Slang
Judges appreciate colloquial terms and slang because it will be easier for them to understand what you’re saying. It would be totes cray cray if you did not follow my word. I would be #notimpressed.
Also, judges get tired of being called “your honour” all day, so try to change it up. Try out “Big Daddy” or the timeless (and confusingly gender-neutral) “Swag Boy” — they will appreciate your gusto and, if done correctly, they will realize that your “friend” is a milquetoast nerd.
10) Throw things at judges who disagree with you
This is a rather controversial strategy that I personally adhere to. If a member of the bench does not appear to be appreciating your brilliant argument, it is best to try and chase him or her from the room so that he or she will not be part of the final deliberation. I personally prefer bringing in balled up paper, erasers, and other such small items. These items, when thrown at most “gavel wielders,” will make them instinctively duck for cover in another room. Please, under no circumstances should you bring a large object. You must be respectful of the judges, and throwing something that might hurt them is a surefire way to show disrespect.
- Take selfies while making your argument and post them on Facebook right away. You want the world to know what you’re doing at the moment.
- Don’t practice. If you don’t have the natural ability to win a highly complex, hotly contested legal argument with absolutely no preparation, then maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.
Jonathan De Biasi (3L) is a contributor to Juris Diction.
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