SOULS supports the development of legal skills through four senior and two junior competitions throughout the calendar year.

The winners of each competition represent Otago on both national and international levels, and have done tremendously well in recent years.

Keep an eye on the SOULS Facebook page for competition updates and sign-ups.

2020 Competitions Schedule

Sr. Negotiation
Preliminary rounds: March 16th @ 5:30 – 9:30pm
Semi final: March 17th @ 5:30 – 9:30pm
Final: March 20th @ 4:00 – 8:30pm

Witness Examination
Preliminary rounds: July 13th @ 5:30 – 9:30pm
Semi final:  July 14th @ 5:30 – 9:30pm
Final: July 17th @ 4 – 8:30pm

Sr. Mooting
Preliminary rounds: May 11th 5:30 – 9:30pm
Semi-final: May 13th @ 5:30 – 9:30pm
Final: May 15th @ 4:00 – 6:00pm (via Zoom)

Client Interviewing:
Preliminary rounds: July 27th 5:30 – 9:30pm
Semi-final: July 28th 5:30 – 9:30pm
Final: July 31st 5:30 – 9:30pm

Jr. Mooting 
Preliminary rounds: July 20th 5:30 – 9:30pm
Semi-final: July 22nd 5:30 – 9:30pm
Final: July 24th 4 – 8:30pm

Jr. Negotiation
Preliminary rounds: August 10th 5:30 – 9:30pm
Semi-final: August 11th 5:30 – 9:30pm  
Final: August 14th 4 – 8:30pm


2020 Winners: Erin Gourley & Isabella Hawkins

A moot is a simulated court hearing, with two ‘lawyers’ on each side. You and your partner will be given a set of instructions from your ‘client’, and will have to research the relevant area of law before the moot. Then, you’ll present your case to the ‘judge’, who will ask you questions – so make sure your argument is solid! After both teams have made their submissions, the judge will pick a winner based on the quality and persuasiveness of your argument.

Mooting is a great way to get a feel for what it’s like to stand up in court – and it’s a great chance to improve your public speaking. You’ll also get to know new people, new lecturers, and new areas of law – so make sure you don’t miss out on sign-ups!


2020 Winners: Emily Boyle & Hansaka Ranaweera  

Negotiation is an essential skill in a lawyer’s arsenal. In the negotiation competition, you and a partner will be given instructions from your ‘client’, and will have to negotiate the issue with another pair, who are representing their own ‘client’.  The aim is to reach an amicable solution – though the issues you will be given won’t make it easy! You’ll have to decide which issues are of high importance to your ‘client’, and which you may be able to concede.

Negotiation competitions are not only a lot of fun, but they are a chance to improve your diplomacy and argumentative skills. Keep an eye out for sign-ups!

Client Interviewing.

2019 Winners: Holly Moffett & Rumbie Mutanga

Client interviewing is also a vital skill to have, and a very fun competition. As a lawyer, clients may come to you afraid and apprehensive to share their story with you. Given the nuances of the law, you must try and extract every important detail from them, while discounting irrelevant ones.

The client interviewing competition requires far less preparation than mooting or negotiation, and is a lot of fun. You will be judged on your ability to make the ‘client’ (often played by lecturers or other students) feel at ease, and confide in you. The fact scenarios are imaginatively thought up, so that the whole process is a lot of fun. Give it a go!

Witness Examination.

2020 Winner: Kate Hursthouse 

Fancy yourself as the next Harvey Specter? Why not give witness examination a go? If you’re thinking about a career in litigation, you’ll need to know how to examine and cross-examine a witness. The witness examination competition allows you to refine your questioning technique so that you can get a witness to say, or not say, what you want.

Just like client interviewing, witness examination competitions usually have very fun and imaginative facts – you just don’t know what might come out of someone when questioned! No legal research is required, so this is a competition you can enter without worrying about time commitments. Keep an eye out for sign-ups!

Kensington Swan Legal Opinion.

Kensington Swan offers a legal opinion competition for second years. Get a group of friends together and get into it – the problem question will be related to your second year papers, so also counts as good study!

As well as learning more about a specific area of law, this competition is great practice for your exams, and for the rest of your time writing opinions at law school and beyond. Make the most of the opportunity!