Moot career puts law grad at centre stage

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Perhaps we should have guessed that the boy who liked to act ended up as the grad who learned to control the courtroom like a stage.

During his time at Western Law, Malcolm Woodside was an avid participant in moot competitions. Among his 14 mock trials, he managed a pair of first-place wins at the Hicks Morley Labour Law Moot in his first year and last year.

“That was a nice bookend for me,” said Woodside, who also took part in the international Jessup Moot in Washington, D.C. “It’s one of the things that differentiates Western from a lot of the other law schools – the amount of these competitions offered.”

On June 19, Woodside will join more than 300,000 Western alumni living around the world as a newly minted graduate and member of the Western Class of 2020.

The University of King’s College theatre grad sees moot competitions as an opportunity to be creative on a different stage. While researching and strategizing play a huge role in mooting, it’s the ability to think quickly and logically that feeds Woodside’s addiction to the competitions.

“It’s not a speech. It’s a conversation between you and the judges,” said the 31-year-old. “Sure, you prepare the arguments you need to make. But it’s thrilling to get a question you anticipated and have a great answer ready or even one you didn’t anticipate but manage to find your way through the moment.”

Woodside, who takes the bar exam next month, views his Western experience as one of collaboration.

“Western Law has a sense of community and atmosphere,” he said. “It’s a very collegial and friendly group. Everyone was so helpful and supportive to one another. We saw each other as colleagues rather than being in a competition.”

With an early interest in labour and employment law and litigation, Woodside will begin articling with Norton Rose Fulbright in Toronto this August.

Looking back through the photos on his computer recently, Woodside was struck by the unique experiences he was afforded through Western Law, including a fourth-month course exchange at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

“That was an absolutely amazing experience,” he said. “Yet another thing Western does for its students.

“It was an extremely formative three years for me. Each year had so many new and different experiences. When I look back, I will definitely treasure them for the rest of my life.”