Why mooting alone does not deliver success and what else you need – message to mooters

Mooting is extremely popular in both common law and civil countries. In India, it is popularly perceived to be a strong indicator of one's legal and argumentative skills.
Image from a moot court competition in Australia. In India, mooting is popularly perceived to be a strong indicator of a law student’s legal and argumentative skills.

I have come across an interesting paradox related to mooters. To understand this paradox, let’s first reconsider the answer to this question –

What is so good about mooting? What are the benefits of mooting?

1) It gives you the ‘feel’ or the thrill of being present in a courtroom.

2) It improves speaking skills and persuasion skills.

3) It improves one’s writing skills.

4) It improves your research skills.

5) It teaches you great analytical skills (most important).

6) In law school, it’s a great demonstration of high value – you’ll be a star if you are a good mooter.

Despite the direct benefits that mooting would have for those interested in a career in litigation, many mooters do not choose litigation, but instead opt for a career in a corporate law firm. I know many mooters who have risen extremely fast through the ladder and are very successful in the law firms they are working in.

Due to the above reasons, people mistakenly believe that being a good mooter is the secret mantra of success. They fail to see the many others who have mooted very successfully, but not managed comparable levels of success in law firm interviews and internships.

Why?  

There can be only one answer – lack of enough practical skills. Mooting helps you develop a great mind, but what is a great mind without having great things to ponder over? How will you use your research skills if you don’t know what to research in a real-life situation? What will you analyse if you have no problems lurking in your mind that prompt it to think until it finds a solution?

How can you use the gifts of mooting in your career?

Despite the multiple corporate law moots that I participated in, won and coached, I realized that mooting did not give adequate exposure to problems faced at a day-to-day level by businesses. I realized that finding creative answers to these problems can be the secret to earning one’s bread and butter, for many business lawyers. The big corporate law firms in India realized this and started hugely successful law practices. Law graduates of today, however, rarely think along developing those skillsets – their mindset is restricting to just ‘getting a job’. They fail to realize that developing those skillsets will automatically enable them to get that job, with a little less effort and tension. It’s the smart way to success.

The mooters who did well managed to do so because they got enough opportunities at a law firm, enough inputs and pressure on them which pushed them to develop their skillsets. The market for law firms was growing and law firms were expanding fast then. Today, there is a shrinking market and too much competition for you to expect that you can learn in the same way that your seniors did.

What is the alternative? How can mooters use their mooting skills to derive maximum returns for their career?

1) Learn it yourself the hard way. I spend about three years in law school trying to learn practical aspects of business laws, which includes one year trying to help entrepreneurs and some time at a corporate law firm advising clients.  This is the trial and error method, to be chosen when you have no other alternative. Many students choose this path, with varying levels of success.

2) Fortunately, there is an alternative. For those who want to learn these skillsets faster, more efficiently and systematically and want to gain experience understanding and helping solve more real life problems (even more than I could ever manage, due to my lack of access to systematic training), we have conceptualized the diploma course in Entrepreneurship Administration and Business Laws (http://startup.nujs.edu), which has received commendable response from law students and even some practising lawyers over the past year.

Today, mooters are invited to take a look. Visit http://startup.nujs.edu (free study materials are available on the website).

About Abhyudaya Agarwal

Abhyudaya is a former restructuring lawyer turned entrepreneur. He writes on business laws, online education and interesting startup stories. He heads content development and operations at iPleaders, a legal education startup he co-founded.

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