Brimacombe Marks the Beginning
Manjot Parhar (3L)
Named after Jim Brimacombe, a highly respected Edmonton lawyer, the Brimacombe Moot is the means for selecting upper year students for competitive moot teams. Specifically, students compete to gain a coveted spot on one of the following moot teams: Alberta Court of Appeal, Bennett Jones Health Law, Clinton J. Ford, Davies’ Corporate/Securities, Donald G.H. Bowman Tax, Gale Cup, Laskin, and Wilson.
This year, the Brimacombe was held on October 3, 2014 from 9 am to 5 pm in the moot courtroom. Professors Lewans and Sankoff served as judges to 42 participants. In addition, nine 1L students volunteered as clerks. The participants argued the fictional case of Lee v EPL, which was also the subject of last year’s 1L LRW moot. They each had seven minutes to discuss contributory negligence or the enforceability of waivers and, more importantly, leave an impression on the judges.
It was a tough competition, and the winners were the subject of much debate. Nevertheless, first place went to Michael Swanberg (2L) who will compete in the Wilson Moot. Second place went to Fraser Genuis (2L) who will compete in the Gale Cup Moot. The winners received book prizes, and their names will be engraved on the Brimacombe trophy which is on display outside the moot courtroom. Special mentions also went out to Jonathon Austin (2L), Taylor Campbell (3L), Tess Layton (3L), and Michael Low (2L).
Congratulations to all of the Brimacombe participants! May the Brimacombe mark the beginning of a fantastic mooting year for the Faculty of Law.
Perspectives on Brimacombe
The Brimacombe was extremely competitive this year, and I was pleased with how well-prepared the students were for this experience. I believe we are going to have some strong mooting teams representing the Faculty based on the quality of competitors who tried out, and hopefully that will translate into success at the National level. Though I have nothing but compliments for the students who did try out, we do hope to up the number of competitors in future years. Winning national moot competitions requires healthy local competition, and I’d like to see increased student participation be the focus of Brimacombe in 2015. – Professor Sankoff
Overall, the Brimacombe moot experience was positive. It gave me an opportunity to brush up on my oral advocacy skills after the summer break and to revisit an “old friend”—Lee v EPL. Us 2Ls were fortunate to moot on the same problem we had for our 1L LRW moot, so the preparation was not too intensive. Justice Lewans and Justice Sankoff did an excellent job simulating a real court experience by asking tough questions. I found that most of my time was devoted to responding to their inquiries, instead of reciting a prepared statement. My nerves calmed down after the first minute or so, and the rest of my time went by very quickly. In the end, I was fortunate to be placed in my top choice, the Wilson moot, which will be on a section 15 Charter problem. I am looking forward to working with the rest of my team, and hope to ably represent the U of A in Toronto in February. – Michael Swanberg (2L)
While the Brimacombe sounds like a lot of work and a terrifying experience (i.e. two law profs grilling you in the moot courtroom), in reality it was a really good experience. The problem was not overly difficult to prepare for, and the moot itself was a good opportunity to work on my oral advocacy skills. In a short period of time, I got to formulate an argument in an area of law I was unfamiliar with and was able to test my ability to respond to questions from highly educated judges. I would encourage anyone who has any interest whatsoever in mooting to participate in the Brimacombe round and, if nothing else, use the opportunity to put some book learning into practice. – Christine Hittinger (3L)
Reflecting on my Brimacombe experience, all I remember is sweating, tripping over my gown, and a TON of questions. I only tried out for the Bowman Tax Moot, so all my eggs were in one tax bracket (pun!) and I couldn’t be happier with my placement! For those thinking the tax moot is only for tax nerds, I come from a science background and have zero business law experience so it’s for regular nerds as well. Although I feel comfortable public speaking, mooting is a different animal. There’s something admirable about maintaining confidence and composure in the face of probing questions that somehow find and pierce the tiniest cracks in what you thought was a brilliant, foolproof argument. Maybe other people find this easy—and I hate/envy them just a bit—but to me, it’s pretty scary. Despite the sweat, mooting is truly exhilarating and I’m so glad I decided to tryout in my 3L year. My motivation for mooting is simple: to improve my oral advocacy. As much as I wish this could be accomplished by binge-watching Legally Blonde, I figured that throwing myself into the thick of it was the next best thing. – Adrienne Funk (3L)