Karina Plain Reflects on the La Trobe’s Secondary School Mooting Competition

La Trobe Law School runs a Secondary School Moot Competition annually for Year 11 Legal Studies students from schools around Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Traditionally, La Trobe Law School has invited only schools from across Melbourne to participate, but last year, the competition was expanded to include schools from regional Victoria such as Kyneton, Echuca and Bendigo. The growth of the competition has meant that more students are given the opportunity to learn about the Australian legal system and profession in a practical and fun environment.

The competition is held over several days; last year, the general rounds were heard at the La Trobe Law School Moot Court at our Melbourne campus and at the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court for regional schools. We were lucky enough to even have the finals held at the Federal Court in Melbourne.

The moot problem corresponds with the key subject areas taught in year 11 VCE Legal Studies. This arrangement allows students to further develop their understanding of the legal system and to hone their public speaking, speech-writing and research skills. The competition can seem daunting at first, but by the end of it, many students can’t wait to moot again!

As one of the co-ordinators, my role was to organise the administrative aspects of the competition. In the months leading up to the general rounds, I was responsible for promoting the competition, inviting schools to compete, and scheduling the library and research sessions which are held for the participating teachers and students. These sessions are an important and valuable part of La Trobe Law School’s competition as they equip students and teachers with the skills to prepare adequately for, and perform well in, the moot competition. As the competition approaches, the responsibilities of the role expand to include planning venues, co-ordinating judges, arranging prizes and all-in-all, making sure that the competition is a success.

What I liked most about organising the competition was that whilst it was law-focused, it was predominantly a project management role. This meant that I was able to develop a skill-set that I may not have been able to acquire in a purely legal role, including event planning and organisational skills.  I had to be composed and creative when under pressure, or when things didn’t exactly go to plan, and consequently, I developed an appreciation of what is necessary to hold a successful event. The best thing about this role was that the moot competition is designed to be fun for students, so it was an exciting and enjoyable event to organise. It’s a great opportunity for La Trobe law students to develop a unique set of skills and engage with the local community, whilst being involved in a law competition.

Karina Plain is a La Trobe Law School Alumni, who co-coordinated the High School Mooting Competition in 2015.

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