L.A.W. Moot Court & Judge Judy:
How They’re Not At All Alike
By Rachael Federico
Who’s Doing What Now?
I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest dabbler in pop culture, but I have seen an episode or two of Judge Judy. When I found out I’d be arguing in front of a panel of judges, I could only imagine J.J.’s distinctive accent and critical gaze peering over the rims of her very serious glasses. Thankfully, you won’t be doing that.
The actual experience is far less painful, and even less trashy. I promise.
Here’s what will happen: you will be assigned a time to arrive to the courthouse, and being a diligent student, you will remove all metal items from your pockets as you walk through the metal detectors. You’ll make your way up to your assigned room, and you’ll wait patiently in the hallway for your peers to arrive. I recommend bringing a camera to document your first court appearance!
When it’s time, you’ll get called into the courtroom. The “bailiff” (likely someone’s kid or hapless law school friend who got roped into the gig for the promise of free food) will announce “Oyez, oyez!”
First person up will launch into the prepared argument (you know, “May it please the court,…”). You’ll probably be cut off by a peppering of questions from the judges. After answering the question, you’ll go back to your prepared argument and likely get cut off again. You’ll get a “warning” from the “bailiff” when your time is almost up.
Then you’ll park it and watch your opponent go. You’ll likely forget everything that just happened.
At the end of the session, the judges will leave and come back with some feedback about your arguments. If you don’t write down this feedback, you’re likely to forget that, too. When everyone is done, it’ll be time for a splendid party. Not so bad, right?
Until then, there’s plenty you’ll be doing to prepare. You’ll have the chance to do a mock argument with your TA, as well as in-class time to develop good arguments and argument strategies. Your TA team is ready and willing to help!