Oras! Mooting Competition – Béatrice’s big challenge!

Meet Béatrice Lallemand: the person behind the organisation of the Oras Mooting Competition!

Interviewer: Could you briefly introduce yourself (name, age, area of law you would like to specialize in, what you want to do in the future/ Master’s degree you want to do after the LLB)?

Béatrice: Sure! I am Béatrice Lallemand, 19 years old and I am currently studying in the French and English Law double degree course at the University of Essex in partnership with the French University Paris X Nanterre. After my bachelor’s degree, I would like to continue my studies with a master’s degree in International Private Law and (hopefully!) have a successful career as a Franco-British lawyer (French Avocat and Barrister or Solicitor). In particular, I would like to specialise in International Family Law even though I’m not closing any doors on other areas of law that I might discover in the future.

Interviewer: Could you tell us why you decided to create such a competition?

Béatrice: Since high school, I have always been passionate about Mooting Competitions. I always enjoyed watching them because I thought that they were great lifelike situations where students could behave like real professionals while pleading.

I was so eager to participate in one of them that for the Grand Oral (a particular exam to obtain my French Baccalaureate), my group and I decided to give a presentation on the impact of the American Second Amendment on the US and its border countries in the form of a mock trial! Even though this presentation had no legal aspect, I represented the US federal government and had to defend the right to bear arms while my colleagues represented Mexico and Canada arguing to the contrary.

I enjoyed this experience so much that inevitably, last year, when I saw that a Concours d’Éloquence (Eloquence Competition) was organised, I thought that I could not miss it and I took part in it. However, even if I absolutely loved this experience, I thought that it missed a legal component that could be beneficial for future legal practitioners.

Around the same time, I also saw that the Essex Law School was organising an Essex Mooting Competition. I really wanted to participate, but unfortunately the application process was then closed. Needless to say, I was quite frustrated. Also, I could not believe that I was the only French student who would relish the idea of participating in both the French Eloquence Competition and the English Mooting competition.

Therefore, after researching if such a competition existed and talking to alumni and peers to see if it could interest students, I chose to create the Oras! Mooting Competition which would combine both components of my degree, French and English Law.

Interviewer: How did you manage to create this competition?

Béatrice: In theory, I thought that giving life to my idea would be an easy task but in practice when I first began to put the competition together, it was a total disillusionment. Indeed, I never imagined all the details, even the smallest ones, that an organiser had to think about to create an event like this!

Therefore, I knew that in order to be able to create this competition, I would need to be more involved in my double degree. For this reason, I successfully put my name forward to become the 2020-2021 Essex President of the France-Essex Double-Degree Society (Association du Double-Diplôme France/Essex). This nomination gave the competition a lot of strength: I would not have been able to put everything together otherwise. Then, I knew that I needed the other universities’ support, so last summer, I gathered all the names of the students from other double degrees who were involved in the organisation of social events (Queen-Mary/ Sorbonne, King’s College/ Assas, Bangor/ Toulouse, Jersey/ Toulouse) and contacted them. They were all very enthusiastic to take part in the project and this also made a huge difference! I was also very grateful to be able to count on my professors during this whole journey, either to help me write the topics or when I needed to contact other Universities.

In spite of the huge support that I received, I was still faced with technical problems, particularly to find judges. This is when I decided to contact external organisations: the AJFB/FBLS (Association des Juristes Franco-Britanniques/ Franco-British Lawyers Society), the biggest society connecting Franco-Bristish Lawyers in England & Wales and France and the Fédération des Associations Françaises en Grande-Bretagne another big society connecting French charities based in the UK. To be honest, when I contacted them, I thought that I was simply throwing out a bottle at sea…So you can imagine my surprise when both societies offered their help in organising the Oras! Mooting Competition.

I am extremely grateful to them because these two societies enabled us to have exceptional judges comprised of eminent and impressive Franco British professionals such as a former judge of the General Court of the European Union, a Lord Justice Clerk of Scotland, a judge of the French Supreme Court (‘Cour de Cassation’) etc. Moreover, they gave Oras! great visibility as it was appointed as the March Initiative of the Month in the Fédération des Associations Françaises en Grande-Bretagne’s newsletter! I really cannot thank them enough for the opportunities they gave us!

Interviewer: How did you come up with the name ‘Oras!’?

Béatrice: In high school, I took optional Latin classes and even though I hated it because of all the rules surrounding its grammar, I always found the wording appealing and well, it was the language of Ancient Rome: one of the greatest civilization that created law. Therefore, it made sense: the Mooting Competition’s name had to be related to Ancient Rome in some way.

Similarly to the prestigious French Mooting Competition Lysias, I wanted to name this Mooting Competition after a great orator such as Cicero, or after the Greek Titaness of divine law and order symbolizing justice Themis or even Eloquentia, the Latin translation of eloquence… Unfortunately, all these names were already taken by existing French Mooting Competitions…Then I found it: this Mooting Competition would be named Oras! which means ‘You Say!’ and is related to public speaking as a whole. The motto attached to it ‘Stand out from the crowd and plead’ was therefore self-evident!

Interviewer: What was the most challenging part of organising this competition?

Béatrice: I think the most challenging part was to reconcile university work, societies and social life.

I remembered this one time when I needed to work on my French Private Law coursework, host an event for the Essex Law Society and at the same time write the French Law topics for the semi-final of Oras!… By a twist of fate, all these needed to be done before the end of the week!

Oras! needed an average of 5 hours of work per week between the emails with the members of the panel, the contestants, the topics that needed to be written, the appointments etc. As you can imagine, my university work needed all my care and attention as well as my societies’ work.

In the end, its organisation was really challenging because this first edition needed, from the start, a really good organisation so it could continue in the years to come. In the future, I plan to ask help from others as planning all of this by myself was difficult.

Interviewer: What did you enjoy the most about it and what skills did you gain by organising it?

Béatrice: I really enjoyed planning everything and be in charge of all the organisation. Indeed, I absolutely loved being the ‘Big Boss’ behind the curtains and decide how it was going to be organised through choosing the date, the time, the members of the panel, the area of law and topics , as well as delivering the introductory words at the beginning of each round.
Thanks to it, I learned how to organise a big event from A to Z and be very efficient while doing it. I also learned how to create appealing visuals for our social media pages, edit and post our videos on Youtube as well as create release forms. I think the biggest skill that I gained is knowing how to canvass people and essentially write professional emails, which weirdly enough I absolutely enjoy doing now!

Interviewer: What would you say to prospective competitors?

Béatrice: Come and join us on this wonderful journey! This competition is not only one of a kind, but you will also gain a lot from it. Indeed, you will have the possibility to plead in both French and English, it is definitely the best way to demonstrate your public speaking skills in both languages, and also compete against other great universities to represent your universities and degree! Moreover, everybody is very benevolent, it is a safe place for every French and English Law students, so no matter what your level is, come, join us and try! If you don’t do it now, when would you do it?

We know that the task is not easy, but if others succeeded, you CAN do it! See you next year… hopefully in person!

Thank you Béatrice for your answers and good luck for the next edition!

Oras! Mooting Competition contact details:

If you have any questions concerning Oras!, you can contact both:

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