The University of Cape Town’s 2019 Moot Court calendar kicked off recently with a panel discussion and ‘mock moot’ for new members. Society member Alex Gloor reports on the event which was sponsored by Africa Legal.
University of Cape Town's Moot Society Opening Event, March 2019
“How can mooting help lawyers in the practical legal world and life,” was the topic for the panel discussion at the inaugural meeting of UCT’s Moot Court Society in February.
Panellists included Ms Simone Franks, director in Real Estate at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr and facilitator of the Joint Regional Notarial Examinations, Mr Clive Hendricks, a named partner and director at Marais, Müller, Hendricks Incorporated, and Mr Andre Van Heerden, a Senior Associate at Werksmans Attorneys, specialising in employment, constitutional, and administrative law, among others.
The key lesson from the discussion was that public speaking is a vital skill for any lawyer, regardless of practice.
Mr Hendricks emphasised how lawyers must be able to make a persuasive argument, even when dealing with their own clients. For those in the audience going into litigation as advocates, such a skill would play a significant role in ensuring they received briefs from attorneys.
On a light note he said a lawyer’s family also expected them to make speeches at important events like weddings or birthdays, so preparation was key!
Mr Van Heerden added that shyness was no barrier to becoming a great public speaker, as he, initially, had been very reluctant, but worked hard to develop this skill.
The Moot Society was the place to start learning how to speak confidently, he said.
Society members participated in a lively discussion during the question and answer session afterwards.
One member described it as “full of information and enlightening” and that, although things may not always go the way one plans in life, one must grow from experience.
The impromptu “mock moot” introduced new members to the basics of the mooting craft. Members were initially hesitant to participate but eventually two brave volunteers raised their hands. With five minutes to prepare and with the assistance of a committee member, they debated the imaginary laws of fantasy writer George RR Martin’s Westeros (Westeros is a continent in the Game of Thrones novels). Both volunteers had great fun in their first foray into mooting and inspired the gleam of competition in the eyes of many in the audience.
UCT’s Moot Court Society wish to thank the panellists, the brave volunteers, and sponsors, Africa Legal, for their contributions to what was a tremendous start to the 2019 Mooting Calendar!