In-House Virtual Mooting Experience at Alex Chang & Co
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this in-house moot trial was held virtually via Zoom. In this virtual moot competition, the Plaintiff and the Defendant teams were each allocated forty (40) minutes respectively for oral submission including rebuttals. The sequence for oral submission is as below: –
Plaintiff Team Defendant Team
Lead Counsel – 15 minutes Lead Counsel – 15 minutes
Co-Counsel – 15 minutes Co-Counsel – 15 minutes
Rebuttals – 10 minutes (can be allocated freely between the counsels) Rebuttals – 10 minutes (can be allocated freely between the counsels)
*It is to be noted that the Rebuttals by the Plaintiff counsels are submitted after the Defendant’s Rebuttals.
Before working on the written submission, both teams were provided with the Pleadings and Common Bundle of Documents filed by the disputing parties. Prior to the commencement of moot trial, both teams have exchanged their written submission and rebuttals. During the oral submission, the counsels are required to submit their cases based on the written submission and other documents at hand. Court attire in black and white was strictly adhered to in this virtual moot competition.
Upon completion of every participant’s oral submission, the Judges will mark the performance of the mooters based on the scoring percentage as below: –
Elements Scoring Percentage
Organisation of Presentation 30 Marks
Recognition of Problems & Development of Arguments 30 Marks
Speech Clarity / Delivery 20 Marks
Answering Questions 10 Marks
Written Submissions 10 Marks
Last but not least, we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude towards Mr Kenny Lau and Ms Peggy San for their willingness to be the Judges of this moot trial. We were tremendously inspired by their valuable feedbacks and guidance.
Mr Kenny Lau and Ms Peggy San were previously interns of Alex Chang & Co. Now, they are thriving in the legal field, each as an applaudable practising lawyer. Having read their internship experience, it is truly an honour to be meeting them online as our moot judges.
Comments by Participants
Lee Xin Wei (Plaintiff Team – Lead Counsel)
Research and Writing a Submission
Having graduated from law school and completed my CLP examination, all of which required extensive writing and lengthy essays, I thought writing a submission for a moot trial would be a piece of cake. However, writing a submission is completely different from writing an answer for a problem question in exams. A written submission needs to cover every legal issue of the disputed facts and arguments, and simultaneously have the law be presented in favour of the client we are representing. Extensive reading was required of us and we had to go through them repeatedly, imagine going through copies of two-hundred (200) paged compiles, and having to figure out and piece the events together chronologically and find every single piece of evidence and tune it to be in favour of our client’s case. In addition, thorough research on relevant cases and authorities added to the overwhelming amount of information we already had, and was a great challenge we had to overcome.
It was truly a thrilling experience. Our submission needed to be conducted in a well-verse manner with due court courtesy, such as the proper ways of addressing a judge and etc. Besides that, another challenge I enjoyed was the fact we had to answer to the judges’ questions quickly and address to their concerns accurately with little room for hesistation. It is especially nerve-wrecking, when you are unable to provide an answer to the questions being thrown at you. I reflected on myself after receiving feedbacks from the Judges. To strengthen my ability to answer questions in the future, I believe more thorough research should be conducted in regards to the relevant legal issues and to be wary of any relevant legislations. On a side note, the ‘share-screen’ skill via zoom is equally important during virtual hearings if one hopes to conduct the session smoothly.
What have I learned?
The comments and feedbacks from the Judges were truly useful, especially to us new graduates who have yet to step foot in court to present our own cases, something which we will be doing very soon, in the near future, this opportunity was a great practise run and an insight to what future trials might hold. Moreover, the judges pointed out that there are times when the advocates are required to seek further instructions from respective clients before moving forward. Undoubtedly, advocates have to act in the best interest of their clients but shall also act upon the client’s instruction to avoid any conflict whatsoever. Through this moot trial, I was finally able to put into practice the legal principles I acquired from law school. Though I have further to improve on my advocacy skills, I hope I would be able to submit submissions with better structures with due court courtesy. I am really grateful towards Mr Alex Chang for this opportunity, Mr Kenny Lau and Ms. Peggy San for their willingness to be the Judges in this moot trial. Their valuable feedbacks will definitely benefit us in the near future.
Teoh Ian-Kang (Plaintiff Team – Co-Counsel)
Ever since I enrolled in Law school the thought of visiting the court of law as a Law student has never once left my mind. Thus, for a chance, and in hopes for such a visit I choose to give up my long holidays to join Alex Chang & Co as an attachment student. Unfortunately, MCO 3.0 crushed my hopes and expectations.
Surprising and unexpecting, despite such depressing times and busy schedules, Mr Alex Chang decided to organize an internal moot competition for the attachment students. Other than surprise, the only feelings left circulating within me were worry, fear, nervousness and anxiousness. But for this opportunity, I decided to set my doubts aside and volunteered to be one of the mooters with the rest of the attachment students.
It was my first ever mooting experience. In the beginning, neither of us from the plaintiff’s team had any idea what either of us were doing, we were lost, behind and confused. But, we did not let this hold us back, we tried our best, prioritised teamwork and distributed the work between us evenly. Soon, we were working together like peas in a pod and were finally able to get back on track. We shared our opinions, discussed the differences and raised arguments to support our claims.
Although I was very nervous throughout the whole mooting session, I managed to learn a lot from it. I humbly suggest that any law student who wishes to pursue a legal career to try participating in a mooting competition. As this does not only to test our level of experience and understanding of the law, but it also allows you to take a peek into the actual operating procedure of court proceedings.
Even though it was just a friendly In-House competition, Mr Alex Chang and the two guest judges, Mr Kenny Lau and Ms San Peggy were fully dedicated and executed their roles perfectly. I had learnt a lot from them, their comments in particular, were well-said, straight forward and enlightening. I thank them for sparing their time to attend as guest judges.
Lastly, I have learned the art of a lawyer serving his client at his best interest. Life is unlucky to get strong case in our favour, concede may be a better way for lawyers to “win” the case. Thank you for the lesson given by all three wise judges, I will take this as my goal and a guide in my future career.
Soo Tien Ren (Defendant Team – Lead Counsel)
I took part in mooting in my first and second year of law school.
In that sense, I wasn’t so “fresh” or “new” to mooting
And because of that, I had higher expectations for myself, and therefore, I poured my time and effort into research and came out with arguments for my not-so-in-our-favour case.
Though I had some prior exposure when it came to mooting, it was not easy to prepare and write a submission after a few years of being detached from the mooting society. It is important to note that, even during my time in my University’s mooting society, I could not quite familiarise myself with it. However, I was blessed in the sense that during the first month of my internship (before the FMCO) Mr Alex Chang and Ms Lim Wen Mi had once patiently guided me on the proper ways to write a written submission. Allowing me to utilise to the fullest the knowledge they imparted on me during this mooting competition.
Unfortunately, in the midst of preparing for the competition, I had my COVID-19 vaccination, and the side effects were eating away at me throughout the preparation, but miraculously, I powered through and was able to finish both the written submission and oral submission. I need to thank Mr Alex Chang again, as well as my friend Lee Xin Wei, and Teoh Ian Kang for agreeing to an extension of time for submitting the written submission. They are very considerate, and I am very grateful for it. Also, I need to apologise to my co-counsel, How Wen Jiun. He agreed to participate, despite the short notice and did his best. It is unfortunate however, as I was not able to provide him with sufficient help due to the side effects of the vaccination.
Special thanks to Ms Peggy San and Mr Kenny Lau, two full-time solicitors for their willingness to squeeze some time out of their busy schedules to coach and guide us, it is very honourable, and we are very privileged to have them pass down their years of experience unto us. Their advice were not only timeless but also valuable, they enlightened me as to what kind of lawyer I should aim to become. The comments given by them are a guiding beacon for my future.
Last but not least, I have to, once again, thank Mr Alex Chang for his willingness to arrange this mooting. It is not easy for a lawyer like him to squeeze time for us, and he certainly has not obligation to do so. His willingness to teach juniors is really admirable, and it is a quality I aspire to learn from him.
How Wen Jiun (Defendant Team – Co-Counsel)
My first time mooting was disastrous. I got cold feet; my arguments were semi-valid at best. I stuttered a lot, especially when questioned by the judges. Almost all of my arguments were thrown out of the window because I did not read the case properly. Despite all of the above, I did not give up and through this experience I learnt A LOT.
Writing a submission
I was asked to join the moot 2 days prior to the actual moot itself, with only a vague idea of what a moot was, I accepted willingly. I thought to myself, just go up and speak for a few minutes, what could go wrong? And so, after accepting the invitation, I waited. One day later an attachment student at ACC contacted me. Sent me 2 overwhelmingly long documents, and asked me to read it. I was rather free, stuck at home, and thus I proceed to read the documents without complains. But as I read on, I slowly realized that I had no idea on almost half of the issues present in the documents. I began to see; how real-life issues and situations are drastically different from what was taught in law school. How much I was lacking – input, applications, knowledge, experiences. I was later shown that there were connections to be made all over the place, but yet, due to my inexperience, I just can’t seem to connect them. With these feelings in mind, I wrote my submission in agony. I was ashamed of how bad I am. It felt like I was dragging my co-council down, like dead weight someone would not want in their luggage. But at the same time, I was also thankful to my co-council for being ever so kind and patient with me. Though my submission itself was well below mediocre, if it wasn’t for his guidance, I would not have been able to write anything at all. Thus, I am eternally grateful for his patience and guidance.
Presenting the submission orally
Whilst in the waiting room;
Just a few minutes before the actual moot, I was afraid. I felt inadequate with my half-baked script. And to make matters worse, I was informed that there will be 2 guest judges participating in the moot. 2 ex-attachment students from ACC to be exact, who are now thriving in the legal industry, each with their great pile of achievements.
During oral submission
Seeing how everyone was delivering their part in a very well-versed manner, I was shookth. I was completely illiterate when it comes to court courtesy, the manner to address a judge etc. Fortunately, I was the last in turn to speak therefore I was able to pick up the common terms and managed to salvage some face albeit miniscule.
Although the script I prepared was flipped upside down when Mr Chang asked me about the nature of the claim (for context: the claim was legal in nature but I prepared a defence in equity), nevertheless I pushed on and somehow delivered my part.
In conclusion, the experience itself was very eye-opening, nerve wrecking to some extent. I realized my limitations and learned a lot. The judges, although strict with the law, were kind enough to give us guidance on what to work upon. I guess this just shows how much passion they have for the law. It is very admirable. I do wish that someday in the future I will be able to reach a tenth of their ability. Though not entirely pleasant, it’s definitely a valuable experience to be remembered.
Lew Jun Man (Timekeeper)
Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude towards Mr. Chang for inviting me to join this mooting session. Although I did not join the mooting session directly as one of the participants, I was fortunate enough to witness this incredible session as a timekeeper.
My role as the timekeeper was to monitor and record the time as each participant was given 15 minutes to deliver their points and arguments. Keeping track of the time allows the participants to know how much time they’ve taken so they won’t exceed their time limit. It may sound like a simple role but it is an interesting task nonetheless.
This is my first time joining a moot trial and I must say it was an amazing experience. Being able to witness each team giving their best in delivering their arguments and try to convince the judge is fascinating. Both plaintiff and defence counsel made their points and it is the judge’s role to question them and decide the outcome of the case.
The judges delivered their decision at the end of the mooting session and made some commentaries. They pointed out some of their mistakes and gave them some helpful advice in fixing them. If given such an opportunity in the future, I would very much like to participate in the mooting session as one of the parties.
Lee Xin Wei
University of Reading