Competitive Mooting | Faculty News | Spring 2020 | NEXUS Magazine | The Faculty of Law | UNB

Global Site Navigation (use tab and down arrow)

Faculty of Law
UNB Fredericton

Back to NEXUS Magazine

Law students shine in competitive moots

Becky Noble visits Rwanda

The 2019/2020 academic year was hugely successful for the UNB competitive mooting program. Thirty students represented the black-and-red at competitions across the country—including the UNB-hosted Canadian National Negotiation Competition (CNNC).

UNB Law places second at the CNNC

The negotiation team of Danica Jorgenson and David McDonald placed second overall at the fourth annual Canadian National Negotiation Competition in Fredericton. The two-day competition saw 16 teams from 10 law schools across the country compete in simulated negotiations.

Jorgenson considers the second-place finish a collective effort and acknowledgment of the months of preparation put in by the UNB teams.

“We received so much help and support from our coach, Jen Davis, the other UNB team, Tanya Gulati and Jacob Elyk, and our alternate Chelsea Drodge, who participated in extra practices and always provided valuable and thought-provoking feedback.”

UNB teams spent the last six months preparing for the competition. The group met twice a week to engage in practice negotiations, negotiation video review, and detailed analysis of competition scenarios.

“We put in some very long days going over every scenario point-by-point,” said Jorgenson. “We developed a list of questions, possible negotiation options, and worst-case scenarios in an attempt to avoid being caught off guard.”

Fellow second-year law students, Tanya Gulati and Jacob Elyk, took home the prize for Best Communication and Relationship-Building Skills.

“I believe it is one of the best awards that we could have won,” said Elyk. “Interest-based communication can be used in almost any context involving conflict or any situation that requires agreement. These communication skills are useful in both the professional realm and within your day-to-day life.”

Day 1 of the competition focused on two-party negotiations with both sides receiving a shared set of facts as well as confidential information known only to a particular side. Day 2 saw four teams compete simultaneously in the multi-party round of the competition.

“Multi-parties are definitely more challenging,” noted Jorgenson. “Both UNB teams subscribe to a very collegial negotiation style and a key factor in having success with that style is being able to build rapport with one’s counterparts. This is much more challenging with multiple sets of personalities and interests.”

Elyk echoed this sentiment: “Multi-party is more difficult, but the most fun. You need to focus on keeping track of all the different interests, and any solutions usually need to meet all these different and often competing interests. The ability to form alliances with other teams adds an extra level of strategy not found in the 1 v 1.”

“Consensual dispute resolution is an extremely important skill for law students to develop,” added Jorgenson. “The majority of legal disputes are settled outside of court. It’s a very valuable skill for every lawyer to have.”

UNB Law thanks the panel of 30 volunteer judges who provided invaluable feedback to participants and graduating UNB Law student Renna Eliakis, who organized the competition under the guidance of Dean Kleefeld and the CNNC organizing committee.

Competitive mooting across the country

Donald G.H. Bowman National Tax Moot

The tax savvy team of Samer Alam (3L), Kathryn Leblanc (2L), Alexander Rimmington (3L) and Miranda Neal (3L) represented UNB Law at the Donald G.H. Bowman National Tax Moot in Toronto, ON. The team was coached by Professor Vokhid Urinov and Cox & Palmer (Saint John) Partner, Jack Blackier.

“The environment feels very real and makes you want to do your best,” said Samer Alam. “Tax law is quite technical at times and it was challenging to advance the arguments in front judges who were so insightful with their questions. It helped me to understand the design of our tax laws and public policy more broadly.”

2020 Gale Cup

Second-year students Dawson Harrison, Lori Wareham, Becky Noble, and Alexandra DeJong competed in the 2020 Gale Cup in Toronto, Ontario. Dawson and Lori (respondents) received the Peter Cory Factum Prize for best factum. The teams were coached by Professor Hilary Young and Instructor Nathan Gorham.

“When it was announced that the UNB Respondents had won the Peter Cory Factum Prize, I think Lori and I shared a moment of disbelief,” said Dawson Harrison. “I am proud to have represented UNB and demonstrated what UNB Law's mooting program is capable of.”

Jessup International Law Moot

The team of Erik Arsenault (2L), Kelsey Bennett (3L), Fahim Rahman (3L), and Victoria Tremblett (3L) made it to the finals of the 2020 Jessup International Law Moot. UNB Law took third place in the category of Applicant Memorial, fifth place in Respondent Memorial, and fourth place Combined Memorials. Erik Arsenault won second place in the Best Oralist category.

“It was an excellent experience that improved my confidence and legal research, writing, and advocacy skills,” said Kelsey Bennett. “It honestly felt surreal to make it into the finals. I was bursting with pride for our whole team…To any students considering getting involved in the Jessup, do not to think of it as just another course. It may only be worth one credit on your transcript, but it is an extremely rewarding experience and the more you put into it, the more you get out.”

Kawaskimhon Aboriginal Moot

Lucas Fraser (3L), Michiko Gartshore (2L), Christina Michelin (3L), Alicia Yvonne (3L) competed in the Kawaskimhon Moot at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. Kawaskimhon means “to speak with knowledge.” The competition is a multilateral negotiation about issues concerning Indigenous peoples. The team was coached by Professor Nicole O’Byrne and lawyer Gillian Paul (JD ’2012).

“The Kawaskimhon was unique from the beginning,” said Michiko Gartshore. “it was not going to be similar to other moots because the goal was different. It is not about winning but rather to build and support relations between non-indigenous people and indigenous people. I loved the moot because I was able to build friendships with other law students in Canada and discuss potential solutions to real-world issues that affect indigenous people.”

McKelvey Cup 2020 (Sopinka Cup)

Alexander Carleton (2L), Madeline Smillie-Sharp (3L), Holly Anna Burns (3L), and Stephen Wolf Power (3L) competed in the McKelvey Cup (Sopinka Cup) in Moncton, New Brunswick. Alexander and Madeline took second place in the competition, with Madeline winning the award for Best Closing. The teams were coached by Professor Jane Thomson and lawyer Carley Parish.

The Sopinka trial-level experience was new,” said Alexander Carleton. “Not only did we have a judge, evidence to interact with, and counsel opposite to us, but there was also a jury (made up of lawyers) grading us. We were also given the opportunity for witness prep. My co-counsel (Maddie) and I met with our witnesses briefly to hear their accounts of the case. We then had about forty-five minutes to ask questions, do simulated cross-examinations, and explain the proceedings.”

Wilson Moot

Caitlin Gallant (2L), Dominique Goguen (2L), Mitchell McGowan (3L), Charles White (2L), and researcher Emily Spillett (3L) competed in the Wilson Human Rights Moot in Toronto, Ontario. The teams were coached by Professor Kerri Froc and third-year student Ashley Wilson.

“I think the biggest challenge going into the moot was learning how to be flexible with oral advocacy,” said Caitlin Gallant. “Successful mooting requires you to be able to adapt to the different benches and to think on your feet. Through practice, I was able to relax and learn how to be flexible and responsive when presenting.”

Congratulations to all competitors and coaches: it takes a tremendous amount of work to prepare for and compete in these events. You have represented UNB Law to the fullest! Thanks also to the members of the Moot Committee, whose commitment and work have helped us excel. 


Continue reading this issue of NEXUS