• College of Law students victorious in national legal skills competitions

  • 30 April 2012

  • Teams of students from The College of Law have overcome tough competition from law schools around the country to win national contests testing their skills in negotiation and mooting.

    Two students from the College’s York centre will represent England and Wales in the International Negotiation Competition in Belfast in July after being crowned winners of the national competition.

    In the DAC Beachcroft Mooting Shield a team of four students from the Manchester centre took first place after successfully taking on teams from universities across the North.

    Meanwhile teams from the London Moorgate and Manchester centres got the chance to take part in a moot in the Supreme Court before the Justice of The Supreme Court, The Right Hon the Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe in the final of the College’s internal National Mooting Competition.

    In the National Negotiation Competition finals held at Manchester Metropolitan University, College of Law York students James Clark and Ben Keatinge, both aged 22, triumphed against 11 other teams, including three teams from other College of Law centres.

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    National Negotiation Competition winners Ben Keatinge (left) and James Clark from The College of Law York.

    The pair, currently studying the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) which gives non-law graduates an entry route into the legal profession, are now preparing to take on teams from around the globe, including India, Singapore, Canada and the US, at the International Negotiation Competition.

    The national competition, sponsored by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution, is open to every undergraduate and postgraduate law school in England and Wales and was entered by around 64 teams. Law students negotiate in pairs on a variety of disputes on behalf of fictional clients and this year the scenarios were based on make-believe problems surrounding the London 2012 Olympics.

    Ben said: “I am very excited to be representing England and Wales in the International Negotiation Competition. I was so happy to win the national competition. It will be challenging to compete against people from so many different cultures since this is not something we have done before. They will be strong negotiators and may approach issues in unexpected ways. We know that there are several areas in which we can improve our performance, and I am sure that it will be a highly enjoyable experience.

    In the recent final of the DAC Beachcroft Mooting Shield, held at Sovereign Chambers in Leeds, GDL students from The College of Law Manchester triumphed against a team from Durham University.

    Catherine Jaquiss, aged 22, and Stefan Volkmann, aged 26, took part in the final showdown while team mates Henry Phillips, aged 23, and Joe Rybacki, aged 21, put in winning performances during the group stages of the competition.

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    DAC Beachcroft Mooting Shield final: (L-R) Catherine Jaquiss; Virginia Clegg, regional senior partner for DAC Beachcroft; Stefan Volkmann; Henry Phillips and Mark Keith, Senior Lecturer at The College of Law Manchester.

    The contest involved 12 teams of law students from universities and law schools across Manchester, Yorkshire and the North East. International law firm DAC Beachcroft launched the competition in 2010 to help students increase their chances of breaking into the legal profession by improving their skills.

    Mooting tests the advocacy skills of students, who argue a fictitious case and demonstrate use of case law during simulated court proceedings. It demands the ability to think quickly and argue convincingly, and the winner is decided on the merits of how they present their case and apply the law to the particular set of circumstances.

    The teams competed against each other over a six month period with the moots judged by barristers and DAC Beachcroft solicitors. The winners receive a week’s work placement at the law firm along with the prestigious DAC Beachcroft Mooting Shield.

    Catherine Jaquiss said: “It was fantastic that all our hard work as a team led to finally winning the competition as significantly improved advocates. The competition required a significant amount of time and commitment and all but one of the eight areas of law we had to research were unfamiliar. I was always nervous immediately before each moot, but we all supported each other. Winning the competition shows me that my ambitions of becoming a barrister are not too far-fetched."

    In London teams from the College’s Manchester and London Moorgate centres contested the final of the College’s internal National Mooting Competition in Court 2 of The Supreme Court.

    The final was judged by Justice of The Supreme Court, The Right Hon the Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe and eventual winners were Legal Practice Course students Tom Dale, aged 31, and Adam Grant, aged 24, from the Moorgate centre.

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    The College of Law National Mooting Competition final in the Supreme Court: (L-R) Adam Grant, Lord Walker and Tom Dale.

    Mark Keith, a Senior Lecturer at The College of Law Manchester said: "I developed The College of Law National Mooting Competition as I felt that, as a leading law school, we should have a prestigious competition which gave our students the opportunity to moot nationally against other centres in the organisation and, thanks to the assistance of the Supreme Court, enabled them to moot in the highest court in the country."

    Further information from Lucy Wray, Press Officer, The College of Law on 01483 216072 (lucy.wray@lawcol.co.uk)