Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Vindobona Junction - Speaking at Vis: Two cents from a quarter finalist

The oral rounds have started in Hong Kong. Vienna rounds are also around the corner. Against this background, Iram Huq, a quarter finalist and Honourable Mention winner at Vienna last year and a quarter finalist at Jessup Internationals this year, shares her thoughts on the oral rounds.

Since the Vis moot in Hong Kong is beginning  today, my friend and colleague, Deepak Raju asked me to write about my experience of speaking at Vis Vienna last year. I have to say that it was the experience of a lifetime, and set off a chain of events that made my life much more beautiful and complete than it was before I went to Vienna.

Most people who participate in the Vis moot would agree that it’s a journey of self-discovery. It’s the perfect simulation of dispute where you get to test your innate argumentative skills. More importantly, you get to meet people from all over the world. I’ve always felt that the best way to find out more about yourself is to talk to people who are completely unlike you. There’s no better place to find random strangers than the bar at OST club during the competition!
Having said that, there’s quite a lot of discipline that goes into being an oralist (does anyone else think that’s a bad word?) at Vis. I’m certain a lot of coaches will be advising their teams on what are the best practices to be followed to ace the competition. I think the best best practice is to always remember that its an arbitration. The very idea of an arbitration competition is counter-intuitive. Arbitration is not about one person winning and the other losing. When you get to the later rounds, you realize that the judges aren’t looking for the best arguments, or the best speakers. They are looking for people who understand where the cost of mistakes can best be allocated, so that everyone benefits.

Please remember that while you are competing in the Vis, it will feel like the most important thing in the world. In fact, if you want to do well, that’s probably a good attitude to have. However, at the end of the day, this is just a drop in the ocean and you probably have a long and illustrious legal career ahead of you. Take this opportunity to make new friends, give your University something to brag about and push your own boundaries. You will undoubtedly discover a few new things about that person you see in the mirror every morning!

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