Last weekend, I took part in a simulated arbitration competition, which is part of the weekend training program for international lawyers in Guangdong province, organized by the Provincial Department of Justice.
Now, let’s address your questions:
- Did we reach the final?
- Did we win the championship?
The answer to both questions is “yes.”
Today, I would like to share with you what I have learned from this experience while my memory is still fresh. There are three keywords that summarize my experience: passion, collaboration, and profession.
Attending the debate was optional, but when our team leader asked if we still wanted to participate without preparation, we gladly chose to do so. This decision was fueled by our passion. Once we committed to participating in the debate, we invested 200% of our energy and zealously represented our clients. Despite the limited preparation time, we sacrificed our lunch breaks and researched and discussed the case until 1 am while other teams were celebrating their graduation. During the intense legal discussions, we always sought to find reasonable explanations based on law and practice rather than merely expressing our opinions. This approach was key to our success, as confirmed by the reviews from the arbitrators.
Our team hadn’t decided to attend the debate until 11 am on Saturday, and the moot was set at 2:30 pm. Despite this short timeframe, we managed to stand out among 24 teams and enter the semi-finals and eventually the finals. This success was a result of effective collaboration and teamwork. Each team member read the material, discussed and ascertained the facts, and brainstormed possible solutions. This initial direction allowed us to focus on the key points and save a significant amount of time. Our team leader played a crucial role in organizing and allocating tasks to members based on their strengths. We followed his leadership, attending meetings on time, researching legal issues, and examining previous judgments from various perspectives. Each team member contributed their best efforts, with the tax lawyer calculating the claims, experienced lawyers presenting strong arguments, and volunteers helping with other tasks such as ordering food and drinks. Despite having different approaches before the debate, we set aside our differences and collaborated to achieve a good result, demonstrating the power of collaboration.
After the arbitration moot, the arbitrators revealed the six scoring points, one of which focused on manner, behavior, and politeness. It emphasized how one behaves in the tribunal, presents their case, and interacts with different parties. Showing respect, dressing properly, conquering nervousness, and remaining calm all play a significant role and can impact the case in dispute. Therefore, professionalism not only entails an in-depth understanding of our legal landscape but also encompasses our manners and behaviors.
With the arbitration moot concluded, the seven-week long training program has also come to an end. However, the exploration of expertise and pursuit of justice never ends. There is a saying that law only exists in practice, and our careers as lawyers only exist in practice. We will continue to integrate passion, collaboration, and professionalism into our practice of law, striving to improve and excel in our profession.