Sunday, July 21, 2019

LUCK (Moot Infinity Stone #6)

There exist six powerful stones in the Moot Court Universe (MCU): LAW, LOGIC, LANGUAGE, LOOKS and LEADERSHIP. We are in the end-game now. Behold the sixth and final stone...

Your powers are growing. Opponents after opponents crumble in your wake, matches after matches swing your way.

You're in the Final. An auditorium sprawls before you. The stage is set. The trophy at the corner gleams.

But at the very last hurdle, you falter. Heart-breaking. Soul-crushing. You vow never to moot again...


You can't win every thing, every time. Sometimes, doing all you can is not enough. Sometimes, even out-performing your opponents may not win the judges' vote.

Sometimes, you lose because of BAD LUCK...

"Here, take my memorial and cases... I still win"

* * *

Yes, just like any other competition, there's always an element of LUCK in the MCU.

After all, the outcome every round of mooting is up to the subjective preference of judges. It's more like gymnastics than football. Whilst the judges are guided by certain scoring criterion, there's still a wide margin of discretion vested in them.

Which is why after suffering defeat, many teams are prone to feeling shocked, hurt or even wronged. They can't wrap their heads around the result. They can't accept losing.

And more often than not, they blame their defeat on BAD LUCK.

But how far is it true that your fate is tied to LUCK? And even if true, is there anything you can do to sway the odds to your favour?

Yes, and YES!

* * *

Rule #1: Luck is certain

LUCK is all part of the game.

The sooner you embrace the fact, the better prepared you are in taming its mischievous whims and fancies. Hence, you first need to identify the possible ways that things can go 'wrong'.

You or your teammate falling sick.

Judges not liking your 'style'.

Facts in the moot problem vague and ambiguous.

Tough match-ups against strong teams in the Preliminary Rounds.

Losing the coin-toss in the Advanced Rounds and having to moot as on your 'weaker side'.

And the list goes on.

Also, don't forget to count the times that you 'got lucky'. For luck is random - some of your wins may be down to 'good luck', such as your opponent messing up or judges glossing over your flaws. After every round, win or lose, it's imperative to objectively evaluate whether LUCK sided for or against you.

"Sorry, team. We lost the coin-toss and they picked Respondent..."

* * *

Rule #2: Luck is calculable

It's not possible to anticipate and prepare for every single random incident. Try as you might, the reality is that LUCK cannot be eliminated completely.

For we all have limited time and energy. We can't be chasing shadows and looking out for monsters under the bed every waking moment. We have to divide our focus evenly in drawing power from the other five stones.

Hence, besides identifying the possible 'risk' factors, you need to weigh their probabilities and impact. You can safely ignore factors that have a low probability of occurrence, and have minimal adverse effect even if they occur (e.g. relationship breakdown - you're a big boy/girl!). More caution should be accorded to 'low probability, high impact' factors. Utmost caution is reserved for 'high probability, high impact' factors.

What constitutes as high risk differs according to individuals and team, of course.

For instance, if your health is fragile, then you need to watch your diet and get sufficient rest (even if your other teammates are working more hours). Or if your exams are close to the competition, you deserve more 'off days' from training. Blind rigid observance to the rule that 'everyone should pull equal weight' only serves to puts your teammates at risk of falling apart, physically or mentally.

Ultimately, luck is about risk, and risk can be quantified.

* * *

Rule #3: Luck is controllable

After you have identified the 'high risk, high impact' factors, the next and obvious step is to take preventive measures to guard against such risks.

Illness - watch your health.

Subjectivity of judges - be mindful of their preferences and traits based on their background (e.g. you can be more conversational and colloquial in an arbitration setting, but perhaps be more conservative in your language and mannerism if the arbitrator is actually a senior judge).

Poor moot problem - draw as many factual inferences as 'creatively' as possible, but don't premise your entire case on such inference alone (and promptly present an alternative argument if the judge feels you're stretching the facts too far).

Tough match-ups - train your strongest mooters as 'double agents' to submit for both sides.

Coin toss - same as above.

We can't guard against every random eventuality, of course. LUCK is capricious. No one can be a master of fate. But the more steps you take to tame the more dangerous elements of LUCK, the more you stack the odds in your favour.

"Plan A didn't work? There's always Plan B!"

* * *

Ultimately, one could even say that LUCK is a feature, not a bug, in mooting. The top teams are those who are best at ascertaining, calculating and controlling the infinite probabilities how things can go wrong and how to make them right.

Winners don't rely on good luck to win. Nor do they blame on bad luck whenever they fall short of victory.

In short, winners make their own LUCK.

And this wraps up the Moot Infinity Stone series. It's not meant to be a definitive guide on mooting, of course. Unlike beating Thanos, there's more than one way to victory. Even with all six stones in hand, victory may not always assured. 

For the MCU is not static. New challenges will arise, and new skills will be needed to meet such challenges. And that's the fun of mooting, after all. Mooting evolves. Anyone who says that the 'best' techniques of mooting have all been figured out is seriously underestimating the limits of law, advocacy and human ingenuity.

The world hasn't seen the peak of mooting yet. The true powers of the six Moot Infinity Stones combined has yet to be unleashed. And it is my duty and honour to train a new generation of young lawyers who will show to the world the infinite possibilities of advocacy.

Moot? This was never just about moot. The future of the legal profession - that's the end-game.

The adults may be doing all the talking, but the kids are doing all the transformation.

Assemble, mooters! You all are going to change the world, one stone at a time...

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