Full programme of lawyering skills delivered despite challenges of pandemic

Kent Law School's Director of Lawyering Skills, Darren Weir, reviews a challenging but successful year

The COVID pandemic did not prevent the running of a full lawyering skills programme during 2020-21. Not only did modules in Mooting, Mock Trial Advocacy, Negotiation, Mediation and Client Interviewing continue, but capacity across the board was increased.

Furthermore, an additional module in Legal Argument and Oral Communication (debating) was created to cater for students who may not want to enter the legal profession, but who still wanted to improve their public speaking ability. In total approximately 400 students benefited from one of the co-curricular modules in the past year. Over 230 hours of lead-staff time was committed to the programme.

Many Law School alumni took part in this year’s programme and for many it was much easier for them to get involved. All the programme’s moots and mock trials were moved online which meant that we had alumni from all over the world beaming in via Zoom to help judge many of our events. Alumni were logging in from as far afield as Canada and Trinidad to take part. This was all made easier because Kent Law School is still the only law school in England that uses ‘Caselines’ for all of the hearing paperwork – making access to problem scenarios, skeleton arguments and authorities so much easier.

Mooting before the President of the Supreme Court

The highlight of the mooting module was that the four best mooters from the nineteen moots performed, had the opportunity to participate in a finals moot in front of Lord Reed, President of the Supreme Court. He selected stage 3 student, Hena Pagoo, as the overall winner of the Best Mooter award for 2020/21.

Mooting highlights

Our team of external mooters also had a fantastic year of achievement. Highlights include:

  • reaching the semi-finals in the 5 Paper Building Moot
  • The Landmark (JR) Moot
  • the 2019/20 ESU Moot (delayed from the previous year)
  • the 36 Group Advocacy Competition
  • and The International Children’s Rights Moot.

Our teams also got through to the Quarter Final of the 2020/21 ESU Moot and entered the National Speed Moot Winter Cup, The Inner Temple Intervarsity Competition, The Landmark (Property) Moot, the OUP Moot and the Southampton Intervarsity Moot. Some of our Alumni helped by acting as independent external judges for some of these competitions.

Looking ahead

The Law School’s successes would not have been possible but for the support of our alumni who kindly give up their time to guide, coach and judge our students in their advocacy skills.

Moving forward, the Law School is putting even more resource into these co-curricular programmes with new innovations in training being developed all the time.

As Director of Lawyering Skills, I oversee the development of an enhanced lawyering skills programme. I am supported by three Co-Directors (Emek Delibas, Lucinda Griffiths and Joe Thompson) along with Professor Bernard Richmond QC who brings his years of experience as an Advocacy Trainer and Director of Education at Middle Temple to Kent.

The academic year ahead in 2021/22 will be full of exciting new lawyering skills opportunities for our students.

National Law Student Triathlon

Kent will also be hosting the first ever National Law Student Triathlon. Sponsored by Thomson Reuters, this competition will see students from up to 24 competing law schools taking part in a negotiation, trial advocacy exercise and a moot.

They will participate in all three events over a residential weekend (30 April – 1 May 2022). It promises to be a mega event and the problem is being written by Kent alumnus Stuart Snow (a barrister at Stour Chambers).

Can you help?

We will be looking for volunteer judges and assessors for the weekend of the National Law Student Triathlon (accommodation will be provided if required). If you would be interested in getting involved in this or any aspect of our lawyering skills programme, please email me: d.weir@kent.ac.uk

Darren Weir
Director of Lawyering Skills, Kent Law School

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