Students from all over Toronto will be arguing passionately at Humber this weekend.
Don’t worry, though – there are no hard feelings involved. Just months of preparation, a lot of legal research and some very poised advocacy.
On November 1 and 2, Humber is hosting the second annual Paralegal Cup, a competition for students in two-year paralegal diploma programs. Two-person teams will argue the legal issues behind an existing charter rights case – a type of mock legal debate known as “mooting.”
“The purpose of a moot is to learn about a brand new kind of law, to become an expert in it, and then present before your senior community members, who then mentor you so you can improve your advocacy skills,” says Fallon Burns, one of the founders of the Paralegal Cup, and an organizer for this year’s event. “It’s important that we have public events to show how productive we as paralegals are, and how we develop together and try to better ourselves.”
According to Doug Taylor, another student organizer of the event, this year’s Paralegal Cup won’t just be a competition – it’s a weekend-long opportunity for the student and professional paralegal community to come together to practice skills, learn and network.
“A consistent theme of increased community involvement was woven into all aspects of the event,” he explains. “We have included Humber students from many different programs, such as graphic design and public relations. We have increased the diversity of our competition judges and we’re providing a time specifically for networking so students and community partners can interact in more relaxed manner,”
Students in Humber’s diploma program will be competing, and students from the degree program – which is unique among Ontario’s colleges – will be working on organization and running the event.
Not that there’s an opportunity to relax once the weekend is over.
Burns, who works part-time at Precision Paralegal Services in Burlington, will be getting an opportunity to practice her own mooting skills when she and fellow co-organizer Sara Liden compete in the Capital Cup in Ottawa the following weekend.
“I like mooting for the challenge of it,” she says. “To sink your teeth into a controversial case is satisfying. I’ve found the experience really solidifies the skills I learn at school.”