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yellowjacket2012
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Postby yellowjacket2012 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:13 am

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Last edited by yellowjacket2012 on Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A'nold
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Re: moot court questions

Postby A'nold » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:37 am

yellowjacket2012 wrote:Trying out for moot court team tomorrow at Boalt, I would sincerely *sincerely* appreciate you guys' help . . .

1. My tendency is to basically start off pretty hesitant, because I'm essentially waiting for the inevitable question, so I am pretty hesitant, and I keep looking to stop talking and wait for the questions - if I don't do this, I tend to go by the script and get "thrown off" by the questions when they inevitably do arrive - so what is the recommended strategy here, do I just have my shtick script and stick to it - until the question hits me like a bus - or do I do this hesitant weird muttering speech waiting for a question. Not sure if you guys know what I mean, but if you do - would appreciate advice.

2. Moot Judges sometimes don't let me get to the merits of my case, and get too invested in their question - is it categorically rude to just ask them permission to move on to argue the next element of my claim, or is that equivalent to conceding that I don't have much of an argument for the prior claim? On the other hand, if I let a judge just keep at it with his line of back-and-forth, I'm done timewise with the remainder of my arguments, so whats the trick here?

3. What about if I'm given X minutes, but I get a cold bench - do I just stop early and leave?!?!?!? This is unlikely to happen at the student-judge level because they're probably as excited to be there as I am - but what if this happens in a real competition?


2. NO. NEVER ask permission to move on. This is basically one of the biggest points of moot court. You have to be able to skillfully move the discourse in your direction without offending the judges. It's a skill that can be learned.

3. Cold benches are rare but I don't know anybody that could go up against a cold bench and look like a pimp. Just get through it, haha.

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tooswolle
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Re: moot court questions

Postby tooswolle » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:47 am

I'm a 0L who has been competing I'm undergraduate moot court for two going on three years so take my advice however you like.

First: don't come off hesitant come out of the gate with a presence and confidence. Perhaps have an outline ready that you can develope. Personally I would completely advise against being scripted as it seems fake and doesn't seem dynamic.

Second: you never, ever ask for permission to be allowed to move on to a different point. The key is to take what they say and devlope that back in to the central issues you are arguing. You're going to have to trust me on that, the people who don't follow that essential rule falter.


Lastly, I would suggest you knowing your arguments and the supporting very well as to demonstrate you're knowledge of the case law I.e As Justice Harlans concurring opinin to Katz v. The United States; a reasonable expectation of privacy is established if the individual has a subjective expectation of privacy and that subjective expectation of privacy is something society is willing to accept. Doing that can make them water and perhaps give you questions you want. Furthermore you can provoke questions by arguing in a way that gets reactions I.e if we were tofolloe the respondents side we would be condoning criminal by minors (not necessarily that but you get the idea.

Good luck.

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A'nold
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Re: moot court questions

Postby A'nold » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:50 am

tooswolle wrote:I'm a 0L who has been competing I'm undergraduate moot court for two going on three years so take my advice however you like.

First: don't come off hesitant come out of the gate with a presence and confidence. Perhaps have an outline ready that you can develope. Personally I would completely advise against being scripted as it seems fake and doesn't seem dynamic.

Second: you never, ever ask for permission to be allowed to move on to a different point. The key is to take what they say and devlope that back in to the central issues you are arguing. You're going to have to trust me on that, the people who don't follow that essential rule falter.


Lastly, I would suggest you knowing your arguments and the supporting very well as to demonstrate you're knowledge of the case law I.e As Justice Harlans concurring opinin to Katz v. The United States; a reasonable expectation of privacy is established if the individual has a subjective expectation of privacy and that subjective expectation of privacy is something society is willing to accept. Doing that can make them water and perhaps give you questions you want. Furthermore you can provoke questions by arguing in a way that gets reactions I.e if we were tofolloe the respondents side we would be condoning criminal by minors (not necessarily that but you get the idea.

Good luck.


I will shed a tear for your classmates as you inevitably gun the hell out of every class and make their ears bleed. :wink:

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tooswolle
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Re: moot court questions

Postby tooswolle » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:51 am

Also please excuse the grammar, I'm typing this response from a smart phone. Again best of luck.

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stonepeep
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Re: moot court questions

Postby stonepeep » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:53 am

yellowjacket2012 wrote:3. What about if I'm given X minutes, but I get a cold bench - do I just stop early and leave?!?!?!? This is unlikely to happen at the student-judge level because they're probably as excited to be there as I am - but what if this happens in a real competition?


You need to be prepared and able to speak for the entire time even when you are not asked any questions. You can finish a little bit early (30 seconds, a minute maybe) but more than that just looks bad.

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tooswolle
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Re: moot court questions

Postby tooswolle » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:58 am

Haha thanks A'Nold too bad the LSAT doesn't measure those skills. But o don't mind hopefully being one of those Ringers, strong and silent hah. Anyways you got a good following on here and I read about your transfer. Congratulations, on that...

P.S. OP I can't emphasize this enough dress to impress people often over look it but having swag and a personality goes along way. I've done well in regional/national tournaments and the judges all tell me it's personality coupled with my skills that seals the deal. Also smile, smile often.

yellowjacket2012
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Re: moot court questions

Postby yellowjacket2012 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:15 am

Thank you for the responses. Any more responses would be appreciated. If you have a link to your law school's website on moot court advice, or a pdf, would appreciate that as well.

ak362
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Re: moot court questions

Postby ak362 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:29 am

yellowjacket2012 wrote:Trying out for moot court team tomorrow at Boalt, I would sincerely *sincerely* appreciate you guys' help . . .

1. My tendency is to basically start off pretty hesitant, because I'm essentially waiting for the inevitable question, so I am pretty hesitant, and I keep looking to stop talking and wait for the questions - if I don't do this, I tend to go by the script and get "thrown off" by the questions when they inevitably do arrive - so what is the recommended strategy here, do I just have my shtick script and stick to it - until the question hits me like a bus - or do I do this hesitant weird muttering speech waiting for a question. Not sure if you guys know what I mean, but if you do - would appreciate advice.


Don't hesitate. I generally have about two or three minutes of introductory and first main points ready to go. I've gone as long as five minutes without a single question being asked; I've also been cut off the moment after I've said "May it please the Court." The key is making it all flow together -- stilted, hesitant muttering doesn't bode well for moot court. If questions tend to throw you off, keep in mind that questions tend to be long -- so you have at least 30 seconds or so to gather your thoughts and respond. If you need to buy time (and use this SPARINGLY), and if the question was somewhat complex or confusing, use the "I apologize, Your Honor, but could you repeat the question?" card. Sometimes that will draw an acknowledgment that the question was confusing, but at the least, you buy some time. If it's a short initial question, don't hesitate to take a couple of seconds and think through your answer. Silence conveys contemplation, sputtering and muttering conveys nervousness.

Keep in mind that deference is key -- never hurts to refer to the judges as "Your Honor/Honors," even if they're a student panel. You're discussing the issue on their terms, in that they get to disrupt the course of your argument with questions, but keep in mind that you always have the opportunity to segue back. It's not uncommon for judges to ask a battery of questions (maybe 2 or 3 minutes of questions in a row), and then fall silent and expect you to pick up where you left off. Transitions are hard, but they're difficult for everyone. If you can, try to group your subject matter into different parts, so that if you're being grilled on a particular subject and the questions stop all of a sudden, you can complete whatever you need to say on the matter and move on. If you're discussing a three-part issue for example, X, Y, and Z, and two judges have been hammering at you on subject Y, and then fall silent all of a sudden, pick up where you left off. I'll try to give an example, but I'm probably not going to do very well.



JUDGE 1: Can you really say that a children's choir director is really serving a ministerial function under the expectations of Title VII and the Establishment Clause?

COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: Yes, Your Honor. While the nature of the instruction may be technical, the Seventh Circuit and others have fully recognized that even within the scope of this technical instruction, there is an ability to affect the spiritual welfare of parishioners. The ability to command such an effect in itself is sufficient to invoke the ministerial privileges as recognized by the sister circuits of this court.

[silence]

COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: "The notion of a spiritual effect can arguably be considered the crux of the ministerial exception..."



(I'm not going to vouch for the correctness of the law or the eloquence of what I've just written here, but you get the idea...)

2. Moot Judges sometimes don't let me get to the merits of my case, and get too invested in their question - is it categorically rude to just ask them permission to move on to argue the next element of my claim, or is that equivalent to conceding that I don't have much of an argument for the prior claim? On the other hand, if I let a judge just keep at it with his line of back-and-forth, I'm done timewise with the remainder of my arguments, so whats the trick here?


Just try to naturally return to a subject you want to discuss. Say your outline is divided up into parts A, B, and C. Judge 1 has been grilling you about one minor point about something in part B. Judge 1 has stopped grilling you. A transition to part A or part C wouldn't work so well, but maybe you could fluidly transition to something else related in part B, and try to round out the subject matter. Hard to describe how to do this without a real problem, but hope this helps.

3. What about if I'm given X minutes, but I get a cold bench - do I just stop early and leave?!?!?!? This is unlikely to happen at the student-judge level because they're probably as excited to be there as I am - but what if this happens in a real competition?


I highly doubt that this will happen at a real competition. First, student judges know that newcomers work better off of hot benches. Real judges also typically ask a flurry of questions, and aren't afraid to interrupt almost immediately. That said, prepare for the possibility that you may need to FULLY flesh out your outline and give a cold bench moot -- basically giving a speech for close to the full amount of time. If the time limit is 12 minutes, and you've used up 10, I think that's perfectly fine. But again, highly unlikely to happen.

Oh, and I found this somewhat helpful when I first started mooting. http://www.legalnut.com/option,com_fire ... 31/id,361/.

EDIT: Also, follow your competition rules to a tee. If the instructions say refer to the parties as Appellant/Appellee, don't refer to yourself as Counsel for the Petitioner/Respondent. Seems simple, but people forget which "court" they're arguing in. Also, when you've got about a minute left, get ready to wrap up your arguments. If you run out of time, say "Your Honor, if I may have a brief moment to conclude?" If they say no, sit down. If they say yes, finish your line and conclude with your prayer for relief, e.g. "For the forgoing reasons, we [or the Appellant] respectfully requests that the decision of the trial court be blah blah blah."

yellowjacket2012
Posts: 283
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:01 pm

Re: moot court questions

Postby yellowjacket2012 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:47 am

thank you so much for taking a lot of time to answer my questions - I have zero moot court experience outside of my 1L oral arguments in law school, I did zero debates in college - so this is all terrific stuff.

Thank you again.

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johnnyutah
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Re: moot court questions

Postby johnnyutah » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:39 pm

yellowjacket2012 wrote:2. Moot Judges sometimes don't let me get to the merits of my case, and get too invested in their question - is it categorically rude to just ask them permission to move on to argue the next element of my claim, or is that equivalent to conceding that I don't have much of an argument for the prior claim? On the other hand, if I let a judge just keep at it with his line of back-and-forth, I'm done timewise with the remainder of my arguments, so whats the trick here?

The trick is to know that you're smarter than the judge when it comes to the particular issue being argued. Your job is basically to be a teacher. If the judge is being a bad student, don't be afraid to make them move to where you need them to be.




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