Advocacy Programs

Advocacy is a fundamental skill for aspiring lawyers. Our advocacy programs give students the opportunity to argue hypothetical cases before trial and appellate moot courts, and to gain experience in preparing both written and oral submissions. We hold internal advocacy competitions in a variety of subject areas, where first- and upper-year students can receive advice and feedback from practising lawyers and judges.

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP Client Counselling Competition

The purpose of the competition is to develop students' skills in interviewing and counselling clients. Practising lawyers assess the competitors and other students play the role of clients. The competition is held within the Faculty of Law, and is sponsored by the Toronto firm of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. The winners of the intramural competition are eligible to compete in the national competition.

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP/Cavalluzzo Labour Law Moot

This competition emphasizes both research and advocacy skills, which are vital for aspiring labour and employment lawyers. The moot problem is based on a realistic problem arising out of the labour and employment context. Senior lawyers from the sponsoring firm act as judges.

Chaitons LLP Corporate Restructuring Advocacy Competition

This competition focuses on providing students with practical appellate advocacy experience in a business law context. Competitors advocate on corporate restructuring issues that have arisen from controversial and topical court decisions. The competition is judged by prominent members of the corporate insolvency bar and Justices of both the Ontario Court of Appeal and Ontario Superior Court of Justice. No prior background in bankruptcy and insolvency law is required.

Cherniak Cup Trial Advocacy Competition

This competition is named in honour or Earl A Cherniak, QC, and is sponsored by Lerners LLP. This competition gives students the opportunity to conduct a trial based on a hypothetical fact situation. Students make opening and closing statements and examine witnesses. Judges and practicing lawyers generously volunteer their time to act as judges for the competition. The top students advance to the final rounds to compete for the Cherniak Cup and the opportunity to represent the Faculty in external trial advocacy competitions, such as the Arnup Cup and Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) Cup.

First Year Appellate Competition

This voluntary event, sponsored by Lerners LLP, gives first-year students the opportunity to argue a hypothetical case before an appellate court, in which the facts are not in dispute and the focus is on the law. The competition allows students to further practice their oral advocacy skills between the end of the LRWA course in January and the Lerners LLP Cup in September. The competition does not involve research and factums are provided. The preliminary rounds, held in March, are judged by third-year students who have had some previous involvement in the Faculty's advocacy competitions. The final round is judged by members of the Faculty.

Harrison Pensa Contract Drafting Competition

This competition, held in the Winter Term and generously sponsored by the London firm of Harrison Pensa, challenges students to test their legal writing and contract drafting skills. Students, who work individually, are given approximately one week to prepare their contract. Practitioners from Harrison Pensa assess the submissions and the award winners are announced at a reception, which is held for all of the competitors.

Hicks Morley Labour Law Moot

Every winter, the country's largest labour law boutique firm sponsors a student moot on a current labour law issue. The winning Western Team goes on to compete in the Hicks Cup in Toronto against moot teams from other Ontario law schools.

Legate and Associates Medical Malpractice Moot

This competition, which had its inaugural event in 2015, allows students to practice their trial advocacy skills in the medical malpractice context.

Lenczner Slaght Advocacy Competition in Legal Ethics and Professionalism

The Lenczner Slaght Advocacy Competition in Legal Ethics and Professionalism is open to teams of two first-year students. It is held each year in the Winter Term. The competition takes the form of an appeal of a regulatory or judicial decision involving issues of legal ethics and professionalism.

Lerners LLP Cup (Appellate Advocacy)

The annual Lerners LLP Cup, an internal appellate advocacy competition, is one of the highlights on the calendar at Western Law. This competition, generously supported by Lerners LLP, provides upper-year law students the opportunity to argue a hypothetical case before an appellate court. Judges, practicing lawyers and third-year students volunteer their time to act as judges for the competition. The final round is decided by judges from the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, and distinguished advocates. The preliminary rounds of the Lerners LLP Cup take place in the last week of September, with the Final Round held the following week in early October. All upper year students are encouraged to participate. Competitors must prepare a factum, and can compete in English or French or both. The Lerners LLP Cup is the gateway for most of Western Law's external moot competitions.

Torys LLP Negotiation Competition

The goal of this competition is to allow students to develop negotiation skills that will be useful throughout their legal careers. Students participate in teams of two, and represent clients on opposing side of a transaction or dispute. The winners of this competition are eligible to advance to the ABA Regional Negotiation Competition later in the fall. 

Upper year students can compete in external advocacy competitions for academic credit during the January Intensive period. These include the Jessup (sponsored by McCarthy Tétrault LLP); the Laskin; WilsonBowman Tax; Walsh Family; Gale; Canadian Corporate/Securities Law; Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP National Labour Law Moot; and Harold Fox IP Moot competitions. The Faculty also enters teams in the Kawaskimhon (a talking circle focusing on issues of aboriginal law), and the Arnup Cup (a trial advocacy competition among Ontario law schools).