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MPL Live: You are one of Nalsar’s top mooters. Now in your fifth year in law school you have qualified to represent India at the 'World Cup of Mooting'. How does it feel? Can you also throw some light about your previous mooting endeavours?
Aditya Singh: I am very excited about this outstanding opportunity and looking forward to the World Finals. Jessup is arguably the most coveted moot with most law schools sending in their best teams. As always, the national rounds this year were very competitive and I hope to apply my learnings in the rounds in Washington. Apart from being a moot team, the three of us (Rohan, Malak and I) are very good friends and that makes this fun.
Previously, I have represented Nalsar as a speaker in the 17th Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, Vienna (2010) and the 2nd International Criminal Court Trial Moot (2009). In domestic moots, I was a speaker in the team that won the Surana International Minority Rights Moot Court (2007) and was Runners-up in the NUJS Moot (2008).
MPL: How are your preparations for the Washington Finals going? Do you have to redraft your memo and submit it again? How tough is it to prepare for the World Finals? Are you approaching successful ex-Jessupers for guidance or sponsorship?
Singh: We are not permitted to rework our memorials but there is a lot of scope for improvement for the oral rounds. The big positive of the national round and competing with some great teams has been that we now have a good sense of areas we need to improve upon.
We will definitely approach our seniors for guidance. Nalsar has always excelled at the Jessup finals and we want to learn from their experiences. We don’t need to approach anyone for sponsorship because Nalsar has this wonderful policy of completely funding students for most international moots!
MPL: How many legal databases do you use for mooting research? Which do you think is the best?
Singh: It varies depending on the moot one is participating in and the respective subject areas. For Jessup our team relied on Westlaw, Hein Online (the Philip C. Jessup Library), LexisNexis, JSTOR, among others. I prefer Westlaw and LexisNexis.
MPL: How is the mooting culture at Nalsar this year? Has it become more competitive than last year after the MPL win? How are the Intra Selection rounds and the moot allocation done? Do you think NLU Delhi drafting in the help of an ex-Nalsar mooter is a good strategy for the younger law schools? Should it be emulated by others?
Singh: Mooting is always a big deal at Nalsar. This year too things are very competitive. It seems most students have the MPL standings in mind as they go for moots. And with last year’s MPL win, the pressure is on us.
At Nalsar students are selected for moots in two ways. For domestic moots, we have an annual selection moot where approximately 30 students are shortlisted to represent Nalsar as speakers and researchers. The allotment of various moots happens subsequently according to the ranks obtained in the selection moot.
For international moots, we have an ‘open challenge’ where students form teams and compete against each other either on the problem of that particular moot or a problem from a previous year. It helps that we always have former mooters judging open challenges and the selection moot.
On the question of a mooting coach – we have an exceptional group of former mooters who are now based in India. Moot Court Committees of various law schools must proactively reach out and build stronger links with these people. Having a group of individuals in the form of an advisory panel may be a better idea than appointing one mooting coach.
MPL: What will you be using the winnings from last year’s MPL for? (Rs 50,000)
Singh: We are planning to utilise most of the MPL funds to install Audio-Visual facilities in our Moot Court Hall.
MPL: What is your take on the MPL rankings this season? Do you think Nalsar has a shot at winning MPL again? Who are the strong contenders this year?
Singh: It’s looking really close at the moment but the big moots are yet to come. With all the Tier- I and Tier-II rounds coming up shortly, it’s going to get very interesting. One good performance in any of the “Global Championships” can change the standings completely. I hope Nalsar does a repeat of last year.
MPL: Finally, what do you think it take to be a winning mooter? And how can others become star mooters?
Singh: Like everything else, it all comes down to hard work and persistence. It’s crucial to have good teammates, people you like working with in your team – it makes the entire experience a lot better.
While it helps to be a good public speaker, you don’t have to be a good talker to be an effective mooter – relentless research makes all the difference. And finally, the most important thing is to keep going and not let one bad performance or a bad decision deter you from mooting.
More interviews of Jessup winners to follow. Please also have a look at Singh’s perceptions on the standards of Surana judging at the Jessup Rounds.
Also, more live MPL blog action likely to be coming up this week from the NUJS’ Herbert Smith moot.