Kent Law School alumna Rachel Mock shares her top tips for mooting after returning to campus this week to help judge a speed moot. The speed moot was held during a visit by the President of the UK Supreme Court, The Right Hon The Lord Reed of Allermuir.
Rachel graduated from Kent Law School in 2011 and is now an Associate Solicitor at Girlings Solicitors in Herne Bay (where she trained). After practising as a property solicitor for four years, she has now switched to Private Client work and is a member of the Wills, Tax & Estate Administration team at Girlings. Rachel says her first experience of mooting was nerve-wracking: ‘Uncontrollably shaking hands, a quivering voice, dry throat and profuse sweating and the thought that I was out of my depth! I soon realised that everyone felt the same and the more I did it, the more comfortable I became. Over time, you think less about the things like how to address the court as it becomes second nature and you can really focus on the point you’re trying to make.’
Rachel regularly judges international competitions at Kent Law School including mooting, negotiation and client interviewing. Also, a keen writer, Rachel has written articles for allaboutlaw.com and has had her views on legal education published on The Guardian online.
Here are Rachel’s top tips for mooting:
- You will be nervous because this matters to you. Nerves are not a bad thing and can help you focus. Accept the nerves and rather than seek to eradicate them, look to gain some control. This will only come with practice and the best advocates still have moments where nerves get the better of them – we are human. Everyone is different and how you take control of nerves will depend on what works for you. Some suggestions
- Take a deep breath in and out before speaking
- Have a pre-moot/presentation routine – this may be 10 minutes of quite time or listening to a particular playlist
- Have something to look forward to afterwards
- Practice your submissions so over time you’ll need less prompts. If you’re reading from a page of notes, it’s less likely you’ll be able to convey emotion in what you’re saying. Especially if there’s less eye contact. Remember, you are trying to persuade. It’s also more likely that you will lose your place and become stuck. However, if that does happen, own it – ask for a moment. Whilst that moment my feel like a lifetime to you, it’s not
- Business attire. Dress as smartly as you are able to. There are countless studies into how submissions are received based on what someone is wearing. We’ve all become a little too comfy in more casual clothes since Lockdown – suits will never be as comfy as loungewear but wearing one affects the weight someone is likely to put on your submissions and also on how you perform. Psychology is part of your toolkit
- Practice your speech in full and time it – several times. This has several benefits – repetition helps you remember what you want to say and it helps you ensure you can say what you want to say within the allotted time. Record it. Watch it back. Ask someone to watch it and give constructive feedback on anything they think could be improved. Yes, it is uncomfortable watching yourself back. Do it often, you’ll get used to it!
- Put the speed moot and any other extra-curricular activities you partake in on your CV. Your degree and education are a baseline, everyone at interview will have those. You need to set yourself apart. Extra-curricular things will help. They show that you are dedicated and proactive and can be used at interview to demonstrate skills such as time management, teamwork, commercial awareness and more.
- Preparing for an onward career in law
- Full programme of lawyering skills delivered despite challenges of pandemic
- President of the Supreme Court to visit Kent Law School
- UK’s first National Law School Triathlon to be hosted at Kent in 2022
- Lawyering Skills at Kent Law School: October 2021 update
- Innovative programme of lawyering skills will culminate with moot final before Supreme Court President
- Eight aspiring barristers from Kent Law School secure Inns of Court scholarships
- Student experience: Reaching the semi-final of a national advocacy competition
- What is mooting? Everything you need to know about mooting at Kent Law School!