Law students tops at national moot

Queen’s Law students won top prizes at a national law competition Feb. 14.
Queen’s Law students won top prizes at a national law competition Feb. 14.

This Valentine’s Day, Andréa Amaral-LeBlanc, Law ’07, wasn’t struck by Cupid’s arrow. Instead, she spent 28 consecutive hours working on factums with teammates Patricia McLean, Navroop Bhandal, Tim Huyer and Colin Yao, all Law ’07. A factum is a statement of the facts of a case or controversy. On Feb. 14, the team produced two 50-page factums as they prepared for the National Securities and Corporate Law Moot—a mock court of appeal—in which teams must argue both sides of a fictitious case to the Supreme Court. The competition was held last weekend in Toronto.

The team’s hard work paid off. Accompanied by student coaches Nicole Stephenson and Josh Ellimoottil, both Law ’06, and faculty advisor Justin Connidis, the team placed second overall among the 10 participating Canadian law schools.

The Queen’s team took home several other awards, including top factum, top oralist and third place oralist.

McLean, who was awarded third place oralist in Canada, said the fact that teams have to argue for both the plaintiff and defendant was a key component to the competition. “In this environment, you don’t just have to think about the opponent’s argument, you have to be the opponent,” McLean said. “It’s a very unique learning experience.” The moot consisted of four rounds over two days, each of which required oralists from each team to argue on behalf of the plaintiff, and then on behalf of the defendant.

The final round saw the Queen’s and University of Toronto teams mooting before a panel of three judges from the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Amaral-LeBlanc, who won the title of top oralist in Canada, said understanding the law and presenting it clearly was essential in earning the award.

“The judges aren’t into theatrics,” she said. “You have to demonstrate you can present the facts and the law in a clear manner without any showiness.” This year’s mock appeal, which is based on current issues but entirely fictitious, centered on the legal requirements of a poultry company and its obligations to share information with its shareholders about the effects of avian flu.

Bhandal said he believed hard work and preparation were the key to the Queen’s team successes.

“We spent at least two hours every day for the last five weeks priming,” he said. “We put so much of our time into this so that we came highly prepared to the moot.”

In preparation for the national moot, student coaches Stephenson and Ellimoottil created an internal moot in October, where 28 Queen’s Law students competed at the Frontenac County Courtroom. The top five competitors were then selected to compete at the national level, and comprised this year’s team. Stephenson said she was proud to be a part of the competition.

“[Our accomplishments] display the calibre of students that come to Queen’s Law,” she said. “We represented Queen’s in a professional, intelligent manner.”

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