Learning lawyers test tops in trials

by Dorianne Sager
Student intern
Sing Tao School of Journalism

When you least expect it, you might find yourself in need of a lawyer -- and you'll want to make sure you find a good one. Chances are the good ones come from UBC.

Coached by faculty advisers and practitioners, 40 second- and third-year UBC Law students made their mark at this year's North American moot competitions, taking first in two of the 11 competitions and placing in five other categories, as well as garnering a number of individual awards.

Held across Canada and the United States, the competitions are an opportunity for students to experience what it's like to practice law in the courtroom.

Students get the chance to play the role of the litigator and the solicitor.

Mooting is all about persuasion, says Law Assoc. Dean Liz Edinger.

"The moot competitions help Law students enormously because they learn the art of persuasion through written and oral argument and develop research and teamwork skills in a way they never can in the classroom."

Students receive invaluable assistance from many faculty members, practicing lawyers and B.C. judges in the course of preparing for the competitions, Edinger says.

Christian Gauthier, a second-year Law student who was on one of the winning teams had nothing but praise for the competitions despite the extra stress that comes with arguing in front of "very intelligent people trying to trip you up."

Sponsorship by law firms and individuals makes the program possible. This year's sponsors included: Ladner Downs, Davis & Co., Heenan Blaikie, McCarthy Tetrault, Russell & DuMoulin, Peck & Tammen and Russ Chamberlain, James MacIntyre, Douglas Symes & Brissenden.

And while moots are only trial runs, the impressive performance of UBC's Law students bodes well for their debut as professional lawyers.

Winning partipants included -- Corporate Securities Moot (First Place): Lindsay Clements, Christian Gauthier, Tanya Lowet, Sandra Haywood-Farmer, Lilac Bosma; B.C. Law Schools Moot ( First Place): Jenny Francis, Chris McHardy, Donovan Plomp, Michelle Wallace, Nicole Garton; Wilson Moot Factum Competition (First Place), Oral Competition (Second Place): Caroline Nelson, Irene Plett, Sunaina Sharma, Kim Stanton; Laskin Moot (Judges Discretionary Prize): Sherry Collier, Sean Vanderfluit, Geoff Loomer, Sophie Roland; Dickson Medal for Outstanding Oral Advocacy: Violet Allard.