Definitely not a ‘moot’ point

Thanks to the generosity of the Toronto-based law firm Torys LLP, first-year students at Osgoode Hall Law School now have a moot of their own.

Right: From left, John Tobin of Torys LLP with Patrick Monahan, dean of Osgoode Hall Law School

On Friday, members of the firm visited the law school to announce a donation of $250,000 in support of the mooting program at Osgoode Hall Law School. Torys’ support will enable Osgoode students to develop their oral and written advocacy skills and will provide students with financial assistance to participate in mooting.

In making the announcement to a capacity crowd gathered in Osgoode’s Moot Courtroom, Dean Patrick Monahan said “I am very pleased and grateful to announce that the Torys firm has contributed a gift of $250,000 to Osgoode Hall Law School to support our mooting program. In honour of that gift, we have established a first-year competitive moot to be named the Torys First Year Moot in which the top four students in each section will compete for the cup.”

The winners of the newly-minted competition will have their names engraved on a trophy. In addition to supporting the competitive moot, Torys LLP has established the Torys Mooting Bursary, which will be made available to students starting next May.

Left: From left, Rafal Nowak, associate, Torys LLP; Sarah MacKenzie, director, legal recruitment (Toronto and New York offices), Torys LLP; Dan Tolhurst of Osgoode’s Legal and Literary Society; Shelley Kierstead, director of Osgoode’s Legal Research & Writing program; John Tobin, partner, Torys LLP; and Osgoode Dean Patrick Monahan

Moot competitions have long been a tradition at Osgoode Hall Law School. In a moot, students typically receive a problem ahead of time. They research and prepare for that case as if they are lawyers or advocates for one or both of the parties. Participants will then write briefs, participate in oral arguments, or both.

Moot competitions are typically sponsored by organizations with interest in particular areas of law. The “case” or problem is often one of current interest, sometimes mimicking an actual case, and sometimes fabricated to address difficult legal issues. Because of the practical experience moot participants gain, law firms that engage in litigation often look to hire students who have engaged in this activity.

In April, 2004, a team of students from Osgoode won a major international legal competition in Vienna which featured 136 entries from 42 countries. It was the first win by a Canadian team in the 11-year history of the Willem C. Vis International Arbitration Moot, the world’s leading international commercial law moot.

“I am thrilled today to be here to announce this gift,” said John Tobin from Torys. “We are delighted at Torys to be a part of this wonderful program.”

“Mooting has been one of the great aspects of our LLB program at Osgoode. The mooting program is very important to the school,” said Monahan.