Pietermaritzburg Moot Finalists Attribute Their Success to Friendship
Rivalry can be a negative element in a friendship but for the finalists in this year’s annual Pietermaritzburg Moot Court competition it was the glue that saw them through.
The four finalists - Ms Emily West, Mr Phinda Dube, Mr Simon Pennefather and Ms Reesha Seegobin - showcased their outstanding legal skills in front of law academics, family and Mr Justice Koen and Mr Justice Mnguni, who praised the high level of advocacy that earned Seegobin the F.B Burchell Memorial prize and Dube the Pietermaritzburg Attorney’s Association prize.
The finalists share a long standing friendship which has had a positive influence on their education. They assisted each other with preparing their cases for the Moot which demands extensive exploration into statutes, cases, journal articles, textbooks as well as consultation with legal experts.
West and Dube’s friendship, going back to Grade 1, served as a great source of support for West who was involved in a car accident just before the Moot Court final.
Said West: ‘By the time of the competition we were so well prepared I was ready for the Moot and as such the decision to continue was a given. Anyway, the shock of the accident had worn off by the next day thanks to the support of my wonderful family and friends.’
‘It was a privilege to be selected for the final Moot alongside my long-standing school friend, Phinda. I have no doubt we will continue our friendship and I am glad to have a future colleague in him.’
West moves to Johannesburg next year to serve her articles with DA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.
This year might be the end of their LLB studies but for Pennefather and Dube, who have been friends since attending high school at Maritzburg College, it’s the beginning of a new chapter as they will both be serving articles in Durban and are looking for accommodation together.
‘We all helped each other prepare for the Moot Final as we are all close friends and will always cherish the experience we shared,’ said Pennefather.
‘Next year I leave Pietermaritzburg where I have grown up to assume the position of candidate attorney at Adams & Adams. I aim to gain a huge amount of legal experience and to develop as a legal professional. My attention will be fully focused on this opportunity and to secure a permanent job as an attorney after completing my articles. I am excited by what lies ahead,’ he said.
For Dube the experience of the Moot finals with his friends was both stressful and fun. ‘Emily is very driven and is destined to be successful in anything she puts her mind too - I have known her for many years and could testify in court to that fact.
‘Simon and I enjoyed many laughs in stressful situations be it in the Moot Court finals or on the sports field. Reesha is very friendly and easy to talk to and we got along well during the moot process. Her dedication is second to none and I wouldn’t be surprised if she became a judge in the future,’ said Dube.
Seegobin had even more reason to be nervous about the Moot as she had to live up to high expectations being the daughter of KZN High Court judge, Mr Justice Seegobin.
‘My dad inspires me every day because he is so humble, down to earth and knowledgeable. He was very excited about the Moot finals, and I hope I did him proud.
‘Participating in the Moot was very exciting but I was also very nervous. You are constantly thinking about your argument wherever you may be but it was a great opportunity and a moment I will remember forever,’ she said.
- Thandiwe Jumo