Osgoode student coaches winning team to moot competition victory

Two years ago, University of Calgary student Brent Kettles and teammate Marek Broniewski won Osgoode Hall Law School’s 2008 Osgoode Cup National Undergraduate Mooting Competition.

This year, Kettles, now a second-year juris doctor student at Osgoode, coached Sheldon McCormick and Christine Wadsworth of Queen’s University to victory in the 2010 Osgoode Cup, which took place March 12 and 13 at York.

“We attribute a lot of our success to Brent,” said Wadsworth, grinning from ear to ear after Osgoode Interim Dean Jinyan Li presented her and McCormick with the Osgoode Cup. “He was an excellent coach and a great mentor.”

Right: From left, Osgoode Cup winners Sheldon McCormick and Christine Wadsworth of Queen’s University were coached to victory by Osgoode student Brent Kettles

This was the sixth annual Osgoode Cup mooting competition, which is meant to be a fun way for students with an interest in law to get a taste of what it is like to act as lawyers in an appeal before real judges. Mooting is an important component of a well-rounded legal education because it gives students hands-on experience in arguing an appeal in a case specially designed to challenge and develop their oral and written advocacy skills.

Sponsored by the law firm of Beard Winter LLP, this year’s competition featured nine teams from eight universities and dozens of volunteer judges, including a final round panel consisting of Madam Justice Miriam Bloomenfeld of the Ontario Court of Justice; Janet Leiper, Toronto’s integrity commissioner; and lawyer John Olah (BA ’70, LLB ’73) of Beard Winter LLP. In addition, students from Humber College’s Bachelor of Applied Arts Paralegal Studies Program served as bailiffs and timekeepers.

Left: Brent Kettles

The team of Ian Perry and Isabella Blandisi of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology placed second in the competition. Another team from Queen’s – Michael Portner-Gartke and Ryann Atkins – and a team from the University of Western Ontario – Jeremy Goldfarb and Philip Pollack – shared third-place honours.

Wadsworth and McCormick, who are members of the Queen’s Debating Union, and Kettles, a member of the Osgoode Debate Society, share a passion for competitive debating. But mooting was something new and exciting for the Queen’s team.

“It was a great experience to try mooting for the first time,” said Wadsworth, a fourth-year commerce student who plans to go on to study law. “It was also wonderful to meet the various judges and lawyers and get their feedback. That was one of the best parts of the competition.”