TRU law to participate in Twitter Moot

Samantha Garvey, Roving Editor  Ω 

Chris Albinati (left) and Jay Michi (right) will be representing TRU law in the 2nd annual Twitter Moot competition. – Photo by Samantha Garvey

TRU will be represented by two students from the country’s newest law school in a national competition on an international stage.

For the second year, West Coast Environmental Law will host the Twitter Moot competition, taking the legal debate online and to 140 characters at a time.

“The strength of your moot comes from how concise (you can be),” said Chris Albinati, one of the competitors. “The challenge is to be very concise.”

Albinati and Jay Michi, both second-year law students, will soon receive their case and which side they will represent against four other Canadian law schools, TRU being the only B.C. school.

“Moots always reflect the calibre of students,” Albinati said, adding that a good showing from them would reflect positively on the school.

“TRU (law) is off people’s radars,” Michi said. “(This) is one more step to make us impossible to ignore.”

The venue is online, which makes this moot more light-hearted than a formal one. Michi said he plans to compete while in his pajamas.

To prepare for a moot is months of work, which usually grants course credit. In this case, it will be extracurricular participation.

“We’re going for feathers in our caps,” Michi said.

First, they will submit a factum, a written legal argument citing all the cases that will be used. After that the sentence length becomes much smaller.

“If you really want to geek out, you can go read each factum,” Michi said.

To prepare they will need to find a coach. They said they are disadvantaged because as the competition is held by West Coast Environmental Law it will be an environmental case, likely against students planning to practice environmental law after graduation. TRU’s environmental law professor doesn’t arrive until next semester.

“We are the Jamaican bobsled team,” Michi said. “We are still looking for our John Candy.”

Both are long-time Twitter users and recognize it as an essential educational tool.

“It’s all about who you follow on Twitter,” Michi said.

He added that hosting the moot competition on Twitter creates unpredictability because you can’t control other users.

“Last year I was a heckler,” he said.

When the first ever Twitter Moot took place in February 2012, it generated a lot of attention and become a top trending topic on the social networking site.

Other than winning the competition outright, Albinati and Michi have the opportunity to win the people’s choice prize, which depends on the other Twitter users that join in.

When they receive their case, the real preparation begins, but for now the pair is tweeting daily, researching the judges and trying to rally support from the student body.

There are very few people at TRU that use Twitter, Michi said, which will serve as a disadvantage in that part of the competition as well.

Despite the challenges facing them, Michi said he is confident about their results.

“We’re going to dominate either way.”

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