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Alexandra Brown, Member of the McGill Moot Court Team

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at McGill chapter.

Introducing this week’s absolutely fabulous campus celebrity, Alexandra Brown! Prior to attending McGill, this U0 Management student hailing from Oakville, Ontario was lucky enough to train at one of the best figure skating clubs in the world alongside Olympic champions. Skating since she was five years old, she competed at several international events. She eventually attended the World Championships in 2013 with the Canadian National Synchronized Skating Team, where they won a silver medal. She also competed as a pairs figure skater at the National level. Once at McGill, Alexandra started her first year off spectacularly by becoming involved with the McGill Pre-Law Moot Court team.

Gabrielle Lee Gabauer for Her Campus McGill (HC McGill): What exactly is the McGill Moot Court?

Alexandra Brown (AB): The McGill Moot Court Team was established just this year. The team is comprised of undergraduate students from different faculties, and we compete across Canada at Moot Court Tournaments. This year we competed at the Osgoode Cup in Toronto as well as the Capital Cup in Ottawa, and at McGill’s first in-house Moot Court tournament, which we hope to grow in the years to come. The Moot Court team divides into teams of two. The individual teams of two analyze Supreme Court cases and make oral arguments as either an appellant or respondent to the case at bar in front of a judge (they are usually lawyers or real judges). The pairs with the most points from the judges will advance to the higher-level rounds until a winner is declared. This year at the Osgoode up, McGill’s very own Scott Harman-Heath and Juliette Mueller won, which is a huge accomplishment. The team is very proud of the victory. Besides the mooting itself, the Moot Court team provides an excellent opportunity to network at prestigious law schools with law school students, professors, judges, lawyers, and other undergraduate students. It has also been a great way to improve public speaking skills. Fortunately, this asset can be applied throughout many disciplines. 

HC McGill: How did you get involved in the first place?

AB: In high school, I participated in “mock trial” which is similar to moot court. However, mock trial involves trial advocacy with the inclusion of witnesses, evidence, etc. I really enjoyed that, so when I came to McGill and discovered the Pre-Law Society, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there were applications opening for the Moot Court team, which I had never heard of before. After doing some research about what it entailed, I was really excited about the opportunity to try something new in the field of law. As a prospective law school student, I realized that it would be great practice because law schools often have prestigious moot court teams, and this is something I am interested in. I figured the undergraduate level would be a great place to start!

HC McGill: What is your specific role on the team?

AB: This year, I was just a member of the team, but next year I will be the Chair of Finance and Sponsorship.

HC McGill: Now that I know that the team traveled to different Mooting Tournaments in Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal, tell me a little bit about what a typical day at the tournaments looked like.

AB: We would wake up bright and early to get to the tournaments for the opening ceremonies where there were keynote speakers to get things started, and the teams were assigned which side of the case they would be arguing for each round. Each team would then proceed to their room assignment for the first round. After four rounds, the highest scoring teams proceed to the quarter finals (usually on the second day), and the process continues until the final round where a winner is declared. The tournaments were definitely stressful at times, but I had so much fun. At the end of the first day at Osgoode and Capital Cup there were banquets where we got to socialize with other teams, so that was definitely a fun aspect as well. 

HC McGill: What is your favourite thing about the tournaments?

AB: Growing up in competitive sports has definitely instilled a drive to compete in me, so I definitely love the excitement of competing against other teams. The McGill team is a great group of people, so I also love being surrounded by such a great team; we have a lot of fun together and keep each other motivated. 

HC McGill: On the other hand, what is your least favourite thing about the tournaments?

AB: It can definitely be stressful, and it is easy to be intimidated. While the team at McGill is strictly undergraduate students, other schools have students that are currently in graduate programs (excluding Law School). So there were some competitors who are close to 30 and some who are close to being certified paralegals. At the end of the day it is always a great learning experience though.

HC McGill: How do you find balancing the stress of your first year at university and being involved with extracurriculars? 

AB: Actually, it hasn’t been too bad. I thought it would be a lot more stressful. I missed a lot of school during high school due to my figure skating, and I often didn’t get home until 1 or 2 in the morning from practice on schools nights. Coming to McGill was such a dream of mine, so I’m just enjoying being at such an amazing university and trying to make the most of my experience. When you want to be involved in extracurriculars you love, you definitely have to push yourself to stay organized and manage your time well.

HC McGill: Do you think it is worth the stress?

AB: It is definitely worth the stress. At the end of the day, the goal out of university is to have learned a lot and score a job you enjoy. The experiences you get from extracurriculars teach you so much about life that you simply cannot learn in the classroom. These are experiences that we carry with us throughout life that ultimately position us as ideal candidates to have successful careers and lives, where you can transfer all of the assets you obtain from teams such as the Moot Court team and from many other disciplines. 

HC McGill: What is favourite McGill memory so far? (It doesn’t have to be Moot Court related!):

AB: I absolutely loved my Canadian Judicial Process class (POLI 378) with Professor Frédéric Bérard. I loved this class so much because we not only learned from a textbook and a set curriculum, but we spent at least half of every class debating current issues and learning about important events in Canada and the rest of the world. Professor Bérard taught us that to be a good lawyer, you have to be passionate about making a difference in society. The lessons I learned from this class will be carried with me throughout the rest of my time at McGill and into my future career, whether it is in law or not. This class was such a great memory because it reminded me why I love to learn and why it is important to be a passionate and informed citizen of Canada. Oh…and beach day…beach day was up there too. 


Images provided by interviewee.

Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Gabrielle is a fourth year student at McGill University. She watches a lot (some might say too much TV) and has gotten into screaming matches over movies. In her spare time, she enjoys being utterly self-deprecating. For clever tweets, typically composed by her favorite television writers, follow her twitter. For overly-posed (but pretending not to be) photographs follow her Instagram.