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Sarfraz Learns to Moot

Sarfraz Manzoor is a writer, journalist, documentary maker, and broadcaster who has presented many documentaries for Radio 4. For his latest programme, Is One Career Enough?, Sarfraz explores the possibilities of changing career later in life, with a career in law as the focus. He came to The University of Law to learn advocacy skills; he also interviewed John Watkins, our Director of Employability, before taking part in a moot with our students at leading chambers 9 Bedford Row.

By Editorial Team. Published 24 February 2017.

It was my idea to create this programme about career changing. When I was younger my dad wanted to be a doctor, which I wasn’t into. But I did used to love watching the legal drama LA Law. These days so many doctors and lawyers write books as well as doing the day job. That’s interesting to me. I’m inspired by Philippe Sands, QC, the human rights lawyer, who has written nearly 20 books. He’s a portfolio career person.

My show producer wanted us to come to The University of Law because it offers so many different courses. She was also interested in its employability service – we wanted to go somewhere that gives good career advice.

Before doing the moot, I felt excited. I’ve got a reasonable amount of experience in public speaking and was looking forward to seeing how that experience would fit into the legal arena. I was a little bit nervous too, as I wasn’t sure what would happen.

Doing the moot was great fun. It reminded me in some ways of what I do sometimes in in my journalism – making arguments, trying to persuade people, telling a story… but with less at stake in my work than in criminal law.

Learning advocacy and mooting made me feel slightly wistful that I had not studied law when I was younger. I think I could have done well.  It was really interesting speaking to John Watkins. If you want to, you can reinvent yourself and pursue a career in law in mid-life.

I enjoyed my advocacy crash course with Modupe Smith, Senior Tutor. She taught me some valuable tips for mooting. You have to stay focused on the precise legal points and only address them. Be confident in how you speak and in your body language. Also, be prepared to respond nimbly to questions.

Is One Career Enough? is on Radio 4 on Monday 27 February at 11am.

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