Mooting Experience - Mr. Gan Khong Aik [Partner]
Q1: Mr. Gan, as a presiding judge in the recent BAC Moot Society Moot Competition, what is your advice to students who have no experience in mooting?
My advice is that students should consider taking part in mooting whenever the opportunity arises and prioritise mooting as part of their learnings. They ought to have their own private mooting groups and practise it as often.
This is because mooting is the best way to put the laws they have learned into practice. Mooting would enable them to test if they truly understand the laws that they have learned. In mooting, one is required to master the facts of the case, identify the issues in dispute, apply the relevant laws to the relevant facts in order to address the issues, formulate the case theory, and marshal the legal arguments to present the case theory while at the same time preparing rebuttals to the opponent's case by challenging their arguments. In the process, they will also learn to address questions from the moot judges. This would help them to address the Bench when they join the practising world later. All these would not be made possible without a good grasp of legal knowledge and reasonable presentation skills. Mooting, therefore, provides real opportunities for students to master the laws well and to sharpen their articulation skills. That is essentially what advocacy is.
To gain mooting experience, students can attend courses on advocacy training, talk to the seniors who have mooting experiences, or observe the practicing lawyers conducting hearings or trials in court, particularly Senior Counsel arguing appeals before the Court of Appeal or the Federal Court. Students can also check out a number of online videos giving guidance on court advocacy.
Q2: In your opinion, would a student who has no experience in mooting be at a disadvantage when applying for a job in the firm?
As regards to this question, while participating in mooting competition is generally not a mandatory pre-condition for job applications in most legal firms, mooting experience inevitably would give an edge. The general observation is that applicants who possessed mooting experience appear to be more confident and eloquent in their delivery during the interview. That said, what remains as most important is the applicants' legal know-how. Applicants must prepare themselves well before attending any interview. Be prepared to know the law firms and their areas of expertise well. In practice, the keyword to success has always been "preparation" and I do not foresee that that would change even in this digital era.
Interview tips - Recruitment Partner
Q1: What was the best and worst experience that you have had in interviewing an applicant (for internship and/or pupillage)? What one piece of advice would you give to an interviewee?
Interviewing applicants who have a thirst for knowledge and down to earth has always been a joy. An impressive resume, adequate preparation before the interview (including an understanding of the firm’s practice and values) and punctuality are equally important. In an interview, apart from the ability to respond to the interviewers’ questions intelligently, it is also important for interviewees to showcase themselves and share with the interviewers what makes them stand out from the other applicants.
Preparation for Exam - Ms. Lee Sze Ching, Ashley [Senior Associate]
Q1: Ms. Ashley, being a recipient of the Book Prize for Criminal Procedure in CLP and having obtained a Second Class Upper in CLP, what tips and advice would you give to all Bar/CLP students for them to pass their exams successfully?
1. Know your goal.
Ask yourself what you want to achieve through CLP / Bar. Bear in mind that becoming a lawyer is your one and only goal, and the desire to that end should keep you motivated and disciplined throughout your study journey.
2. Develop your study plan.
a. Create a study timetable.
Plan out your study times and list out the subjects that you wish to cover in weeks ahead. Discipline yourself to follow the planned schedule to ensure that you would have ample time to prepare for the exam.
b. Set a good study pattern.
Read, understand, and then memorise. Do not rush yourself into understanding the materials when reading for the first time but read it through to familiarise yourself with the contents. Next, you delve into understanding the law. Memorisation will accordingly become a lot easier after accomplishing the first two steps.
c. Delve deeper into the knowledge.
Instead of absorbing the law like a sponge, think it through in your brain as to how it may be applied. A good practice would be to look at past year questions to understand how the law may be tested so that you get an idea of where to focus. This will also help to cultivate interest in understanding the law and therefore make study more effective.
d. Do not bet on luck.
Do not pick and choose which chapter to study based on your own prediction on the exam questions, so that you would be ready to answer, come what may.
3. Test yourself on the law.
Practise using the past year questions; write down complete answers as if you are sitting for an exam. Do not check the answers provided until you have attempted the questions yourself. This is important because an exam is not about mere regurgitation of law; it is to showcase your ability to understand the question, apply the law to the facts and solve the question. Should you encounter any difficulty in answering the past year questions, that is a signal for you to focus more on those specific areas in which you are less comfortable.
4. Simulate real-life exams.
Attempt the exam questions following the actual exam timetable. For example, if the exam starts at 9am and finishes at 12pm, make sure you do the mock within the same period so that your brain and body get used to the routine.
5. Plan your answering time.
When you are sitting for the exam, plan ahead the time to be allocated for each question to avoid running out of time in the end and having to leave blank any question that you are required to answer.
Legal Article Writing - Ms. Tasha Lim Yi Chien [Associate]
Q1: Ms. Tasha, as the Founder and one of the authors of “What Law Lah?”, can you share with us the key skills of legal writing?
Every writer out there would have a different way of writing – their own style and skills. However, before injecting one’s own spice into the artwork, there are 3 fundamental things that I think you need to bear in mind. The first one is to know who your audience will be. Who are you writing this article for? Is it for an academician or a judge? Or is it targeted towards the general public? By understanding who will be consuming the content that you produce, that gives you an idea of how to word your article or submission.
At the same time, you need to know what is it that you are working on or the type of document that is to be produced. A submission would have to be legally accurate and factually supported while an article would have to be eye-catching. Of course, whatever you produce must be accurate to the best of your knowledge. As writers of What Law Lah?, we constantly remind each other to produce quality content because we know that people are relying on the articles that we produce. Similarly, judges would rely on your submission and academicians or your average Joe would refer to your articles.
The last tip sounds easy but perhaps is the most difficult to achieve – simplicity. You and I will most likely have little patience to read a 10-minute article. We have been pampered with the power of having things instant and “to the point”. So, produce a work that you yourself would read by keeping things simple yet understandable.
Q2: What advice would you give to law students who are interested in writing law reviews but find it hard to dissect a vast amount of information researched?
For students who wish to write law reviews and have trouble dissecting a vast amount of information researched, you could try some of these tips that I personally adopt:
Do a quick search on the internet to see if someone else has had an opinion on the case or have a simplified version of it. This will give you an idea of what you will be reading.
If the case is too complicated, read through it once first without diving too deep into it. The purpose is to get a sense of awareness of what the case is about and how it was decided. After your first read, rest your eyes and mind to prepare yourself for the actual reading activity.
Highlights, charts or diagrams! These were always useful to me since I was a student and they continue to help me understand things better.
Break down what you are reading into a few parts. Reading 10 pages every 15 minutes and taking a 5-minute break after each lap is much easier as compared to reading a 100-page article in one-go which may seem daunting and overwhelming.
I hope these personal tips help you and your friends!