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.

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Texaco v. Pennzoil case – mock trial by GED2 students

Judges may sit, parties’ lawyers may be prepared to start their argument because today’s contract law class will be dedicated to a mock trial of the famous Texaco v. Pennzoil case that took place in 1987.

Anne-Isabelle playing a witness

Anne-Isabelle playing a witness

A mock trial is an act or imitation trial. It is similar to a moot court, but mock trials simulate lower-court trials, while moot courts simulate appellate court hearings. It is a famous exercise in the Anglo-American law school program and has now no mystery for the GED2 students.

At the beginning of the mock trial, the judges represented here by Marie, Mathieu, Jaze, Ines, Juliette and Melissa entered the courtroom and all the audience, the class, stood up. The trial session could begin.

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The mock trial in American contract law class

On Friday the 11th of April, the whole class had to be at 8 :30 AM at the EY offices in Neuilly for our last seminar about the LLM preparation for this semester. So we were all dressed up on that day and this was a good thing since it was precisely the day that Mr Einbinder, Professor of American contract law, had chosen to organize us a mock trial in class in the afternoon. Students had been divided into four teams, and we had been given the summary of the Texaco v. Pennzoil case weeks ago. Each team was assigned its part to prepare, either the defendants, the claimant or the judges, and was supposed to be able to conduct an argument as in a real trial.

mock trial

The funny thing was that even on our way back from EY to the University, some of us were actually already arguing the case while still in the train, confronting their respective arguments and sometime getting carried away, before the mock trial had even begun ! That’s how much we were into the game ! Anyway we got to the classroom, rearranged the chairs and tables to make it look like a court room and I, as one the judges, opened the session.

It was the first time any of us ever took part to that exercise and it was awesome. We had our one chance to be a Harvey Specter for 2 and a half hours, it was very exciting to hear some expressions we had only heard in movies coming out of our own mouths. Plus it was also very interesting to implement all we had learn from Mr Einbinder about american contract law and use it to defeat the adverse party.

I had a unique and thrilling experience which hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to repeat, I am very thankful to the professor for that idea !

Joaquim Traoré – GED 2