Fighting the fight against a lack of information on Canadian Law Schools.
UG CGPA: ###
LS Class: ####
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Sam, I won't be posting any pictures because all the ones I have are of nights of drunken debauchery. I also have pictures of my girlfriend but I think she would get quite upset with me, even though it would make this site a whole lot prettier. But posting pictures is a good idea and I will try to remember to take my camera around to the law school and its events as much as I can so that I can put up some LS-related pictures.
So... the next competition...
The BLG Labour and Employment Law Moot
You may have heard the term 'moot' before. Most probably you heard it in the context of "a moot point" where 'moot' is given the definition of 'no practical importance' or 'irrelevant'. So a moot in the LS sense is essentially a mock trial. I'm not sure if students are given completely hypothetical cases usually but we were given a case that had recently been resubmitted to the arbitrator by the BC Court of Appeal - and our moot was based on an appeal of this decision.
The way it works is that there are two teams of two representing different sides. Each side is given half an hour to speak. The appellants go first for twenty five minutes, then the respondents speak for thirty minutes and the remaining five minutes are for the appellants to respond to the respondents' arguments, if they wish. The time you are given is split between the two team members however you may wish, but half an hour (or twenty five minutes in the appelants' case) is all you get. During that time the judges (3 lawyers from BLG) will interrupt you throughout your delivery and hammer away at the points that you make. This makes a lot of people nervous as the judges tend to throw you off your train of thought causing you to jump around the progression of points that you intended to make.
You are judged on how well you deliver your points and how well you handle the questions posed to you. The most valuable thing I learned from this is to be prepared. Those that know what their own points are as well as the facts of the case generally do the best. If you know your material then you will not have to look down at your paper and you will be able to speak and answer questions with confidence.
Next time I'll talk about the Cherniak Cup.
Monday, November 15, 2004
First allow me to thank those that sent in comments. Observer, thank you very much for the grammar correction.
I've heard mixed things from people in the big firms concerning extra-curriculars. Some say, as Observer does, that marks are all important and to focus on nothing else. Some say that participation in competitions is a very good thing and will help in securing interviews and providing topics of conversation. While I'm not leaning one way or the other as far as following advice, I see the merits of both. I do realise that law firms are looking for smart students and I am going to set aside a lot of time to study for them. However, I still feel that participating was a good step as it opened up litigation as a practice area for me. There is also a strategy behind all of this - the exams coming up are midterms worth 25% of my mark. I feel that I can do all of this now, see what I really enjoy and can handle and then dedicate more time to studies for finals next semester. To me this seems like a good theory...so we'll see how this works in practice. (Nevertheless, Observer, thank you again for the advice. It's given me that extra push to put more focus on studies.)
So, with that in mind, I'll explain the negotiation competition today and will write about one competition every post for the remaining competitions in the list I provided last time.
Torys Negotiation Competition
There were originally twenty teams of two people each at UWO. Teams are given a fact scenario and are divided into opposing counsels. Each team is then provided with 'secret' facts relevant to their side that include the objectives of that side. Two opposing teams are then given approximately forty minutes to negotiate. The aim is to gain as many of your side's objectives as you can. The only real rule that you must keep in mind is that you are not allowed to lie about the fact scenario provided to you. There is a lawyer from Torys, acting as a judge, present during your negotiation, but he/she is not part of the negotiation so they are regarded as not being present. You can do whatever you like from the time the clock starts. If you want, you can ask for all of your side's demands and if they are not given (which is more than likely) you can storm out and end the negotiation. Or you can sit there and yell at the opposing counsel or make faces at them. You are allowed a 5 minute caucus with your partner to discuss whatever you want in private - sports, the Apprentice, the negotiation at hand, whatever - but that 5 minutes does not stop the clock. Once time is up, the judge takes about 15 minutes to himself/herself and then each team is called in one after the other for feedback and self evaluation.
It's interesting to see the various strategies in play. Some people do 'good cop, bad cop'. Some teams have both people as being very aggressive at the get go and don't concede on any point. My partner and I decided to try and get what we wanted by being as conciliatory as we could. After all, we saw no reason why both sides couldn't get something out of it. It seemed to work well for us as our judge thought we did quite a good job against a very aggressive team. However, we didn't do well enough to advance, which was unfortunate because we really got into the role playing. My partner and I are both male and we noticed that most of the teams that went on to the next round we male-female teams. This is, in my opinion, generally the best combination to go with as it provides a good basis for any strategy. However, it's no formula for success. I think versatility is the most important quality for any team to have as you've got to be able to alter your strategy to fit the situation. My partner and I found that at one point in our negotiation we had to be aggressive rather than nice in order to move past an issue.
There have been three rounds so far and I am proud to say that UWO has a team that has advanced to the next round, which I believe is in Salt Lake City, Utah. This team is a male-female duo has a 'good cop, bad cop' strategy working for them that they say they like to switch up every so often. I wish them luck and hope they make it to the finals in Ireland!
It's late and time for bed. I will talk to you soon.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
A word about law school competitions...
These things are great fun. So far I've participated in every competition that I was allowed to sign up for and I can tell you that I've learned a lot. I haven't advanced past the first round yet, but I've learned a lot...and that's the important thing! So I keep telling myself.
So far, I've participated in: the Torys Negotiation Competition; the BLG Labour Law Moot; and the Cherniak Cup. (If that last sentence seems grammatically incorrect, it may very well be. So please send me a comment to correct me. Just don't comment on how I managed to get into Law School with such poor grammar skills - I had other people proof-read my personal statement!)
Oh by the way, every competition here is sponsored by an appropriate law firm. BLG has a very good labour law group (management side). The Cherniak Cup is a trial advocacy competition that is sponsored by top litigation firm Lerners. However, it is named after Earl Cherniak, a senior practioner at Lerners, who is a renowned civil litigator. I can only venture a guess as to why Torys sponsors the negotation competition and that is that the firm has a strong mergers and acquisitions group, of which that practice area, I would imagine, would require a fair amount of negotiating.
...i'm really tired right now since it's late, I've got some reading to do for class tomorrow and I've just finished participating in the Cherniak Cup this evening...so I will postpone writing about the competitions until a couple of days from now. Tomorrow there is an information session for yet another competition - the BLG Client Counselling Competition. You can bet that I'll be going to that and I'll also try and find out why they sponsor that competition too