The Grande Ecole du Droit at the Lysias competition: a success story

The Lysias contest is a must at our law school; it is both a speaking contest and an advocacy one. First year students (L1) plead in civil law, while second year students (L2) plead in criminal law. The competition consists on four rounds. Candidates have six days to deal with a topic and write a pleading either as a prosecutor or as a lawyer. Then two candidates compete before a jury composed of lawyers, teachers and secretaries of the conference.

 So the first round is made up of some undergraduate students in first year and 24 students in second year, some of whom were selected for the quarterfinals. For the last rounds, the jury designates the best candidates: four for the semifinals and finally two for the final. And then it is time for La Grande Ecole du Droit to make its voice heard. Indeed, five GED 1 and six GED 2 participated in this contest: Lydia BELKADI Tom GUELIMI, Ingrid BRUYAS, Allison CLOZEL Flora BOILLAUT, Elena AUCLAIR, Clemence LAMY, Inés RODRIGUEZ, Pauline BALAIRE, Alexis CORLAY and Ayoko DEGBOEVI.

The subjects tackled by students often resumed famous cases like the Oscar Pistorius one, but revisited. In addition, riddled with puns, they naturally lend themselves to humor, the jury assesses the true legal coherence of the argument but the ability to laugh, surprise or excite the audience.

Finalists candidates selected in our training were Tom GUELIMI and Ayoko DEGBOEVI but the winner of this contest Lysias for the first years was our GED 1 Flora BOILLAUT! We are all very proud that students have played for La Grande Ecole du Droit, and let us to victory. Everyone was able to acquire many skills thanks to this experience so we wanted to interview them.

Ayoko Degobevi, a year-two GED student – © Christophe Rabinovici

How did you enter this contest?

 « I joined this contest after a friend had told me about it with several other people in my class. Because we thought it would be a good experience. » (Ayoko DEGBOEVI, GED 2)

Did you find this contest difficult?

« The contest Lysias was a very rewarding experience, it’s a pretty difficult exercise, writing a different argument every week requires imagination as to please the jury you must have legal skills combined with humor. Lysias competition is also a bit of « theater ». » (Ayoko DEGBOEVI, GED 2)

Was it a rewarding experience?

Tom Guélimi (GED 1) finds that his experience had a double effect, both personal and collective: « Personally, it made me realize that you can make others laugh, or at least smile, while being yourself. Not only is it possible, it’s also enjoyable. The step of the first performance is difficult because we do not know what to expect in front of the jury but then it becomes almost addictive. You learn a lot about yourself, about your limits, which for many of us haven’t been reached. And, finally, it is a collective experience because Lysias is also the opportunity to learn about others. In moot court competitions, we are not alone: we are still in the GED! Several students participated and this has helped to strengthen ties between graduating classes. We all learned a little more about each other and that was all a lot of fun. »

Ayoko DEGBOEVI (GED 2) thinks that she has gained fluency in public speaking skills. What struck me the most is definitely to see that doing such an exercise gives taste to public speaking. It is an experience that allows us to live the law really differently, we come to the « concrete », the « practical ».

Flora Boillaut, winner of the Lysias competition for first year students - © Christophe Rabinovici

Flora Boillaut, winner of the Lysias competition for first year students – © Christophe Rabinovici

The winner of this contest Flora BOILLAUT (GED 1) gives us her testimony: « Public speaking is important, every law student needs to learn how to speak in front of an audience without major difficulties. Participating in the Lysias competition is a way to work on your skills and to overcome certain fears. Speaking to strangers, convincing a professional jury is not easy, especially because for many of us that was our first experience. This also allows us to see law in another way, though of course this is very different from reality. I think this moot court highlights the creativity and originality of a candidate. I took a lot of pleasure defending our fictitious clients by putting myself in the role of a lawyer for a few minutes. »

After enjoying her victory, our winner from the GED 1 must prepare again for the nationals. Unfortunately she didn’t go to the next national round, but we are all very proud of her beautiful path and her success in this competition. Each and every one of the candidates has been able to overcome their fears and to go on despite the difficulties. All students are therefore winners because of their personal enrichment.

By Elise Wagner