Importance of public speaking in law school

In Present
June 12, 2021

In law school, one of the most notable things you hear is probably that public speaking is important. You need to speak well to make connections and present yourself in the best way possible in the speeches you make. This is also one of the reasons why such diverse alternatives exist in the domain of public speaking in law schools, giving rise to multiple cultures, the most prominent of which are Mooting, Debating, and MUNs. 

Mooting

Mooting is the primary speech activity that mostly every law school student engages with and it is limited to the field of law itself. While not exclusively a public speaking activity, it emulates the traditional atmosphere of a trial in court and students play advocates. There is a submission of a memorial with all of the arguments and the students argue in front of the judges as well. 

moot
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Mooting is an activity that prepares budding lawyers for a career in law by making them interact with the system right from the beginning. A lot of national and international moots are organized as well, with the Philip C. Jessup moot being considered the most prominent moot of all time. Each moot takes a long time to prepare for and requires a great level of commitment and dedication. A national moot such as that of the NLS-Trilegal Moot can take between 3-4 months while an international one can take longer than half a year. The prestige attached with doing well in a good moot also reflects on the speaking abilities of a person, thereby bringing with it a lot of accolades and appreciation with regards to networking and job offers as well. 

Philip Jessup moot
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Debating

The other most prominent speech activity in law schools is perhaps that of debating. Parliamentary debating to be more precise. In a parliamentary debate, there are two kinds- a British one and an Asian one. The British Parliamentary debate consists of four two-member teams participating in a room- two arguing for government and two for the opposition. There is a closing half along with an opening one thereby making the competition vertical as well as horizontal as you have to beat your own side’s other team to win as well. 

The Asian Parliamentary debate consists of two teams of three members each- consisting of a Prime Minister (Leader of Opposition for Opposition), Deputy, and Whips who are the last speakers from each side. It is a content-heavy format as compared to a British one which requires tons of strategizing as well as in an Asian debate, the competition is direct and without another two teams to outdo. 

Debating is a prominent culture in India with tournaments being organized almost every weekend. The most prominent debate championship is that of the Worlds University Debating Championship (WUDC), seeing participants from all over the world. In India, a few prominent tournaments include of IIT-Bombay BP, NLSIU APD, and GLC BP. Debating is an exceptionally difficult activity to engage in given the paucity of time for prep but is equally rewarding, with many great debaters doing well in their speaking parts for their career in law as well. While not exclusive only to law schools, debating still sees a heavy influx of law students mainly due to how much it broadens their scope and helps them in their professional pursuits. 

MUN

Other speech activities in law school also include Model United Nations (MUN). In this activity, students engage with each other while representing a country they have been allotted and thereby understanding the geopolitical sensitivities of the world. It is a strenuous activity with the submission of a memorandum and the participation starts with choosing a committee. These may include national ones such as the Parliament or international organizations such as the UN or even make-believe ones such as the Roman Counsel for Execution. The most prominent national ones would include the ones of IIT- Bombay and NUJS Kolkata and international ones include that of Harvard MUN and Yale SCSY among others. 

MUNs significantly engage with geopolitics and is considered to be an activity that is specifically beneficial for aspiring international lawyers who wish to gain an understanding of the system before stepping out. It is also a fun activity to engage in as each MUN sees a lot of participation from across the country and has tracks that student can engage with easily. 

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Overall, speaking well in law school is considered to be one of the benchmarks for success, and with tons of avenues and encouragement to do so, it becomes easier to indulge in. The activities help individuals come out of their comfort zone and improve their capacity to engage in proper professional relationships while networking with other students from other institutions. As such, with these avenues at their disposal, law students are often spoiled for choices for enhancing their speaking skills and often do great in the actual times given the number of experiences they have. 

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Sources:

  1. https://www.facebook.com/danklawschoolmemes/posts/418204625389315
  2. https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/law-journal/2016/09/30/25-reasons-why-all-law-students-should-participate-in-the-jessup-competition/
  3. https://memegenerator.net/instance/81079328/hermione-granger-meme-we-could-get-killed-or-worse-forced-to-do-public-speaking

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