This article is written by Ramanuj Mukherjee, a former NUJS graduate who topped law entrance back in 2006. He has recently launched the first comprehensive online course for mooting with a revolutionary new approach that can help you to be a champion mooter.

What is there to learn in mooting?

What do you need to learn to become a mooting champion?

I have never been a mooting champion. I have gone from being thrown out of the court to representing my University in one of world’s most prestigious arbitration moot, and in the process I have seen first hand what goes into making some of the best mooting teams and experience the journey in development that mooting really is. I have judged many moots since I graduated, and seen some of the best mooting talents in India perform in my court. Also, some of my closest friends have been true mooting champions, and I have known them very closely.

No, cross that. I have lived with them, broke bread with them and partied with them. I have been part of tense moments and breakthrough victories. I have employed them, I have even dated one and I have certainly contributed to the making of a few. I dare say, I really have seen what it takes to be a mooting champion.

I strongly believe that mooting is a journey that every law student deserves, but not by being throw into the ocean, but with proper training and guidance. Unfortuantely, there is no real training or guidance available for vast majority of law students when it comes to mooting.

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The one or two workshops that are held in a few of the law colleges are hardly sufficient to even understand let alone perform well in the moot. Vast majority of law students get eliminated in the internal selection rounds itself, gets demoralized and never moots again. I could have been one of them, except for that I fought back and one way or the other clawed my way into the NUJS mooting team of my time.

Another large chunk of law students quit mooting after their first brush with a real moot, where they get eliminated in the qualifying rounds itself.

Why is that? Why is there no better way to learn mooting than trial and error? Why is it that those people who develop a few skills earlier than others are destined to dominate for next 5 years while others fade away after one or two tries? What if there was great training for mooting available for one and all?

These questions bothered me even when I was in college. Back then itself, I attempted to launch a course on mooting. After putting in considerable amount of work, it never went ahead and we never launched it. However, I knew that the need is really there and somehow as someone who struggled to find guidance early on in law school, it was a personal agenda for me to launch a mooting course.

Finally with able support from Anant Malviya, another mooting enthusiast who has been working on this since last 3 years, we are finally able to launch a fabulous mooting course that we are really proud of.

However, while making this course, we really had to confront this question. What is there to learn to become a mooting champion? What is there to learn in mooting? Isn’t it something that is reserved for people who are already debating champions and natural speakers? Is it something you can even learn and win?

We believe, from our experience, that it is something one must learn. Even an advantage of natural public speaking ability is only temporary and not going to carry you all the way. One must learn various aspects of it.

Just like you can learn to drive a car, or swim, you can learn to moot. And it is very easy with the right kind of guidance.

Let’s get you started by telling you what are thing things that you need to learn.

How to read a moot problem

Any successful mooter will tell you to read the mooting problem multiple times as soon as you get it. Understand the importance of each and every fact. If you have a team, do a joint reading of the problem and debate out the significance of various facts with each other. Underline, mark up, make notes. Read up to see if there is any law on your side or against you. Then get back and read the problem again. That’s how you begin to read a moot problem. There is a lot more to it, of course, apart from going through it with a comb.

How to identify issues that matter

Most respectable moots will already give you some defined issues. Many may not. In any case, understanding the legal, moral, ethical and practical issues, even beyond what is stated literally in the problem is critical to the performance of champion teams. Usually the team that contextualizes the problem the best is able to do the best research, frame the arguments that are in right spirit and have the best shot at winning the moot.

How to frame arguments

Identification and framing of arguments is part science and partly art. It is just like the ability to catch fallacies and weak arguments. Very few people ever learn to do it, not only in the larger world but even those who manage to go to a law school. Not only in mooting, but this is what separate the great from the average in the legal profession.

How to prepare and practice a moot speech

This is where the winners and mere good researchers who will not win the moot get diverge in their path. This is what counts as good execution before the day in the court. This is critical, and those who are not able to prepare a speech or practice are rarely able to win a good moot no matter how much law they know, how good natural speaker they are or how quick they think on their feet.

What are the different stages of mooting and what challenges a mooter goes through in each stage

Many rookie mooters think that mooting is a case to win for your client. Actually it is not about winning. You can win the moot even if you client would have lost in real life. Remember, mooting is a show. It is a show of your lawyerly skills, research, oratory, organization and generally being awesome in the court. The only way to be awesome in all situations is to know what to expect and prepare for everything. You don’t want anything to surprise you and throw you off balance.

How to create a powerful speaking strategy

A speech is not enough. You are never going to be able to deliver the speech the way you crafted it. Judges will interrupt you, you will be waylaid by some false facts, you will run out of time, the other side may lie about facts and law, and you will find everything unfair. Well, not if you have a strategy in place. Nobody wins a moot without giving due importance and time to creating a bulletproof speaking strategy.

How to go about research and what kind of research will set you apart

Everyone will do some research. People spend sleepless nights researching for their moots, and then get surprised in the court by questions from judges that they have no answers to. It happens with almost everyone, until you learn how to take charge of the court. Until you learn how to set up the judges and what research you need to do for that.

How to write a winning memo

You can learn everything, but if you don’t learn this you will always fall short. It is not just about writing arguments. There are so many technical aspects to writing a memo that it is crazy. You get market for everything, from the right use of authorities, to footnoting to even the formatting. Even pagination makes a difference here. A good memo goes a long way for a mooter.

Well, there are tons and tons of other things I could tell you about which you need to master as you learn how to win a moot.

Below is a detailed syllabus of what we cover in our mooting course. If you can find a way of teach yourself these things, which most champion mooters in fact do, you will go very far in mooting. Or, you can just help us to run you through all these effortlessly, through our online mooting course – the “Mooting School”.

Mooting School Course Syllabus

Module 1: Getting started with mooting – what you need to know  

  • Introduction- What is mooting all about
  • Different kind of moots
  • To moot or not to Moot
  • How acing mooting will benefit your legal career
  • Challenges one faces while mooting
  • How internal university mooting is different from inter-university mooting competitions
  • How international moots are very different from national level moots
  • How to choose the right moots
  • Battle formation for mooting – how to pick the right team
  • What are the stages of mooting and what would a mooter go through in a moot
  • Checklist for winning a moot

Module 2: How to prepare your moot speech

  • How to introduce yourself to the bench
  • How to formulate your arguments
    • Inductive and deductive arguments
    • Independent and interdependent arguments
    • Recognizing, testing and countering arguments
    • Reasoning v. argument
    • IRAC Method
    • Toulmin method of argument
    • Policy arguments
    • Developing and testing arguments
  • How to present your argument to the bench
  • Why you must be familiar with possible counter arguments
  • How to deal with counter arguments
  • What to do if your side has a weak case
  • How to address others in the court in your speech
  • Organizing your Speech
  • Best way to prepare for oral arguments
  • Framing issues where it is not specified
  • Speaking strategy
  • How respondents approach differs from that of applicants
  • Last 12 hours before the oral rounds

Module 3: Researching for a moot

  • How to do research  
  • Using research databases
  • Tools  
  • Organizing your research
  • Use of Authorities: Articles & Books
  • Primary authorities  
  • Secondary authorities
  • Weight of authorities
  • Research Checklist

Module 4: Understanding and framing powerful arguments

Module 5: Inside the court – Handling the situation

  • How to listen to, evaluate and understand the bench
  • Provoking Questions
  • Answering Questions
  • Evading and conceding
  • Responding to your opponent & moving between issues  
  • How to grab the attention of the bench
  • How to refer to the memorial during your speech
  • Time Management
  • Concluding
  • Court Manners  
  • Active and Belligerent Benches
  • Model Oral Round execution  
  • Improvising your speech
  • Court Etiquette  
  • Demeanor
  • Role of Last Speaker
  • Rebuttal and Surrebuttal

Module 6: How to speak in the court

  • Tonality
  • Voice modulation
  • Dramatics/ theatrics in court
  • Should you be witty? Everybody loves humour
  • Energy
  • Body language, gesticulation and hand movements
  • Styles of speaking
    • story telling
    • evoking emotions
    • when to concede
    • taking morally superior stand
  • Interrupting judges or other side in court
  • How to practice your speech
  • Difference in speaking in international rounds vis-a-vis Indian rounds
  • How to make the most of a rebuttal

Module 7: Memo Architecture

  • Formatting Guidelines for Memo prizes
  • Using Templates: How to find the right template for your memo and how to modify it
  • Essential elements of moot memorial
  • How to go about the table of authorities
  • How to prepare an outline of your memorial
  • How to write the First Draft
    • Drafting your Issues
    • Drafting of Arguments  
    • Drafting Prayer
  • How to give the Midas Touch to your memo
  • What not to write in the memo  
  • Writing Style
  • Drafting Compendium

Module 8: Memo Mechanics: Understanding Technical Aspects of Memo Formatting

  • Checklist for memo formatting
  • Managing the format for Issues and Paragraphs separately.    
  • Preparing the Draft.
  • Headers, Sections and Page Breaks.
  • Analysis of Wining Memos.
  • Formatting & Marking Citations.
  • Word Tricks  

*The course modules are subject to changes and feature additions without prior notice



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