UOW law students hone advocacy skills in moot court
There’s plenty more to being a good lawyer than the ability to argue well – just ask University of Wollongong alumni, Matt Ward.
As one half of the duo that makes up leading Wollongong criminal law firm Morrisons Law, Mr Ward has spent the past seven years honing his advocacy skills representing hundreds of clients in court.
But the 29-year-old returned to where it all began on Monday – this time to pass on his knowledge and expertise to the next generation of lawyers.
Mr Ward, together with his business partner Graeme Morrison, were joined by noted Sydney silk Carolyn Davenport, SC, to judge the grand final of the UOW Law Students Society’s criminal advocacy competition.
Sponsored by Morrisons Law, the moot trial competition is the first of its kind in Australia to focus solely of criminal law and includes a cash prize pool of $1,800.
Sixteen teams of two students signed up to compete, with each group assigned to either prosecute a case or defend it.
Monday’s grand final saw Crystal Gleuch-Martin and Varnja Pjevalica tasked with preparing and presenting a bail application on behalf of their “client” – an accused drug dealer with alleged ties to a local chapter of an organised crime gang.
Their opponents – the “prosecutors” seeking to keep the accused dealer behind bars – were Analise Ritchie and Monica Naumovski.
The “judges” quizzed each duo on points of law and their reasoning behind each of their submissions before declaring Ms Gleuch-Martin and Ms Pjevalica the winners.
The pair was happy with their success, telling the Mercury it had been a hard-fought competition.
Meanwhile, Mr Ward said he was impressed with the quality of the students’ work and their willingness to accept feedback and suggestions.
“We wanted the students to be able to experience the reality of criminal law in the most pragmatic way….to help young graduates bridge the gap between studying the law and actually practising law,” he said.
When asked what makes a good advocate, Mr Ward said realising that you’re part of a performance is often a good place to start.
“We’re presenting a type of performance where everyone – the judge, the barristers – all play a particular role,” he said.