The next generation of lawyers went head-to-head to develop their advocacy skills before they leave university and walk into a real court room.
University of Wollongong law students competed in a series of mock trials on Friday and Saturday as part of the annual Morrison Moot court competition.
Leading Wollongong criminal law firm, Morrisons Law, hosted the event for the third time but this year students had to adapt to pandemic restrictions.
"The competition aims to give participants real life experience in criminal law and courtroom advocacy, along with feedback from experienced judges, barristers and solicitors," lawyer and firm partner Matthew Ward said.
"This year the competition was conducted via audiovisual link. This replicates the current practice in many NSW courts due to the COVID-19 pandemic."
Students had to prepare bail applications for an accused facing domestic violence charges as the prosecution and defence.
"I found it really interesting to look at the case from both sides," competitor Lisa Cratchley said.
"It was such a great experience that helped me develop my advocacy and speaking skills. I also appreciated getting feedback from the barristers, judges and senior practitioners. It was really beneficial and I appreciate the fantastic opportunity."
Ms Cratchley said the mock trials helped her to think on her feet and have more confidence.
Her opponent Will Jamieson said he had learnt more about criminal law through participating in a courtroom scenario and also appreciated receiving feedback from the judges.
He said the experience helped him get a sense of how local cases were conducted in a courtroom and gave him an insight into what a future career in advocacy would involve.
Mr Ward said the judges declared Ms Cratchley the winner because she showed a number of natural advocacy skills along with an engaging performance.
"I am always pleasantly surprised by the ability of candidates to engage with the scenario, get a practical understanding of the law and speak on behalf of their client," he said.
Ms Cratchley said while only in her second year she planned to practice criminal or family law upon graduating.
Students also won prize money and had the chance to be awarded an internship with Morrisons Law firm.