The Blackhall Place team that won the Northern European rounds of this year’s Monroe E Price media-law moot-court competition has been reflecting on its winning formula.
The Law School team got top marks for its written memorial in this year’s competition.
Chloe O’Reilly (A&L Goodbody LLP) said that the competition process involved a crash course in researching and presentation skills, but that she also made great friends along the way.
“The problem question revolved around freedom of expression, and people being blocked and or deleted on social media,” Chloe explained.
“Our team became very close, with multiple meetings every week, drafting arguments and testing those arguments against each other,” Chloe said.
The team drew up arguments based on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
A round of written memorials was followed by oral arguments, and competition against teams from Oxford University.
“On a personal note, I was very pleased to be named the best oralist in the final, and the runner-up best oralist overall. I feel that these advocacy and presentation skills will be very useful to me in my legal career,” said Chloe.
Donal Merrick (Eversheds Sutherland LLP) described detailed research on international media and freedom-of-expression law.
“Gradually we then drafted our written submissions, refining them week by week in response to feedback and our team discussions,” he said.
Try-outs for the competition began in October last year. Written submissions were submitted in early January, then it was straight into oral preparations, before the international rounds of the completion in June.
Throughout the process, research, drafting and oral presentation skills were honed and polished.
Guest judges Liam O’Flaherty BL and last year’s Law Society Monroe E Price moot team gave invaluable feedback on draft written submissions and oral preparations.
Coach Rebecca McKittrick (A&L Goodbody LLP) was endlessly dedicated and generous with her time, support and advice, the team agreed.
Donal also paid tribute to “three amazingly talented and supportive team-mates, without whom participating in the competition wouldn’t have been quite the worthwhile and enjoyable experience that it was”.
Respondent Eilis Ni Bhroanain (Mason Hayes & Curran LLP) pointed out that the Northern European rounds took place only a few short weeks before PPC 1 exams.
“Once the memorial was drafted and submitted, the ‘heavy lifting’ – hours of research into very niche legal points –was mostly finished and we could move on to the much more enjoyable phase of drafting our oral arguments,” said Eilis.
The problem question for the competition was both challenging and relevant, concerning freedom of speech in the context of political elections and social media – a very complicated and developing area of the law, Eilis said.
Niamh Shanahan (A&L Goodbody LLP) described an incredibly enjoyable and challenging experience, both professionally and personally, while working on a fictional but highly topical issue.
Niamh recalled facing many different teams in the Northern European rounds, before victory allowed the Blackhall unit to progress to the global rounds.
“I would highly recommend this competition to anyone who is interested in mooting during PPC 1. It was a lot of fun!” she said.
Coach Rebecca McKittrick said: “I was delighted to secure the role as Law Society coach in September 2021 during my first rotation with A&L Goodbody LLP.
“I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to select, coach and guide the Law Society team through drafting written memorials, preparing oral submissions and advocacy.
“It was a privilege seeing the team develop from try-outs to defending the title my team and I secured last year, Northern European champs, to scooping up individual awards at the global international rounds.
“Thank you is due to all of my friends and colleagues who graciously gave of their time to act as judges during our practicing sessions,” Rebecca concluded.