My first time in a moot is 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 and 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.
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.
How Wen Jiun (Defendant Team – Co-Counsel)