National Mooting Success Comes to the U of A


Philip Bryden, Dean of Law

Success in national mooting competitions has arrived in a big way at the University of Alberta, just in time for the Faculty of Law’s Centenary.  The mooting gods actually started shining on us in the spring of 2012 (perhaps in anticipation of the Centenary) with a win by our team in the Canadian Client Consultation Competition.  The University of Alberta team of Angela Kiebel and Sherry Simons went on to represent Canada and make it to the semi-finals of the International Client Consultation Competition in Dublin in April, 2012.  Their success must have inspired this year’s competitors, because when the 2012-2013 mooting season arrived the national titles started rolling into Edmonton like Stanley Cups in the days of Gretzky’s Oilers.

We began the mooting season again in earnest in November, 2012, when Pippa Feinstein and Samuel Harrison combined to win the world’s second Twitter Moot.  Then in January, 2013, the U of A team of Natasha Edgar and Avril Fisher won the Mathews, Dinsdale and Clark LLP Labour Arbitration Moot in Toronto.  Next, in February our team of Katherine Fraser, Brendan Gould, Mandy Kahlmeier and Nora Kharouba took third place in the Gale Cup in Toronto, with Mandy Kahlmeier winning the Dickson Prize as the best oral advocate.  And last but by no means least, on March 2 our teams won two national competitions, the Bowman National Tax Moot and the Laskin Memorial Moot.  The U of A team of Regan Dahl, Russell Ault, Belinda Chiang and Michael Zielnik traveled to Toronto to prevail in the Bowman Tax Moot.  On the same weekend we hosted the Laskin Memorial Moot here in Edmonton, and our team of Katherine Drouin-Carey, Leah McDaniel, Marquez Strickland and Pablo Retamozo struck a blow for Western Canada by winning the Jeremy Oliver and Alex Smith Prizes for best team in the competition.  The Laskin is Canada’s only fully bilingual moot, in the sense that each team has to present written and oral argument in both English and French, and this is the first time in the competition’s 27 year history that a team from west of Toronto has taken first prize.

We are all proud of what our mooters have accomplished already this year – and at the time I am writing this piece the mooting season is not yet over so there may be more success to come.  In addition to congratulating our successful moot teams – and indeed everyone who takes part in our competitive mooting program — I want to take this opportunity to offer a few words about the mooting experience and what it takes to achieve this year’s level of success.

Competitive mooting is a wonderful learning experience.  There is no doubt that it is a lot of work, and the old saying that success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration is certainly true of success in mooting.  That said, you get to think harder about a particular problem than you have probably thought about anything in your life, and wring more ideas and argument out of it than you ever thought possible.  In national competitions you get to test your skills against other students from across the country and learn that you can compete with any of them and sometimes come out on top.

Competitive mooting is also a wonderful team effort.  Off course, when you are standing up before a panel of judges and making an oral argument or counseling a client or doing whatever else the competition requires, you are very much on your own.  But you have behind you a whole host of people whose efforts helped to prepare you to be successful.

First and foremost there are your team mates and your moot advisors.  I would be remiss not to thank all of the faculty advisors for the teams I have mentioned: Lynn Parish for the Client Consultation Competition; Cameron Jefferies for the Twitter Moot; John Carpenter and David Williams for the Labour Arbitration Moot; Peter Sankoff for the Gale Cup; Chris Sprysak for the Bowman Tax Moot and Patricia Paradis for the Laskin Memorial Moot.  They in turn are ably assisted by our Competitive Mooting Coordinator,Stella Varvis, and the many students, lawyers, tribunal members and judges who hear practice rounds, review factums and otherwise offer their help, comments and constructive criticisms to the participants.

Finally, we benefit from the commitment of the individuals and law firms who sustain both our teams and the competitions themselves through their financial contributions and their organizational efforts. We are particularly grateful to the law firms whose financial.contributions supported our successful teams: Beresh Cunningham Aloneissi O’Neill Hurley (the Gale Cup); Chivers Carpenter (the Labour Arbitration Moot); and Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (the Bowman Taxation Moot).

This is a magnificent effort in which the academic and professional communities come together to advance the education and professional development of the next generation of lawyers.  We are extremely grateful to everyone who took part in this endeavour.  Personal effort and teamwork are necessary but not sufficient conditions for success in mooting.  Without them success is not possible, but even the best prepared and hardest working teams will not always achieve success.  Therefore, when success arrives (and especially when it arrives en masse), it is something to celebrate.

As a result, I would like to invite everyone to join us at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 4 in CN Alumni Hall to celebrate the successes our mooters have achieved, to congratulate those mooters who gave it their best effort but didn’t find their way into the winners circle, and to thank everyone whose efforts made it possible for us to have an outstanding competitive mooting program.