Interview with Lokmen Kassim, Associate at Matouk Bassiouny. Talking to us on mooting, its potential for the legal field, and utilizing moots for the preparation of young lawyers on the sideline of the first national rounds of the Foreign Direct Investment moot in Egypt (“FDI”).
Interview and Edit by Khaled al-Khashab.
Q: Lokmen, thank you for being here today. Could you please introduce yourself to the community?
A: Sure, I am French-Egyptian, born and raised in France. I recently moved to Egypt, where I read law at IDAI (“Institut de Droit des Affaires Internationales – Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne”). As soon as I graduated, I interned at various places, including London, where I gained exposure to my specialization, which is Dispute Resolution & Arbitration, which I have been practicing in Matouk Bassiouny for two years and to date. I am now working with Dr. Amr Abbas, the head of the Arbitration Department at Matouk Bassiouny.
Q: Regarding the FDI, can you tell us more about how it got to Egypt and why Matouk Bassiouny were responsible for its organization?
A: Well, Matouk has handled lots of investment cases, most of which were against the State of Egypt. We co-advised in various Investments disputes and we negotiated with the State on behalf of several foreign companies and Investors. So, I believe it is natural for our firm to introduce this type of Dispute Resolution practice to the Egyptian market. We thought that this is the best way for Egyptian students to get acquainted with this type of Dispute Resolution, something they are not necessarily familiar with. A completely natural matter to us.
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Q: And do you believe that the judging process could be described as competitive between the volunteering arbitrators?
A: of course, It is always an opportunity for us to revise and get familiarized once more with essential knowledge of law through moots. So, it is always great to be able to review the basics and get in touch with students throughout the moot. So, yes, it is beneficial for all the parties. Whether the judges on the panel or the students. I think it is utterly important.
Q: Do you think that the FDI, and other related moots, could substitute the legal studies for Investment arbitration in law schools?
A: I would not be able to say it is a substitute. But I believe it helps put it together. Because when you train with a law firm, a legal department, or any other organization that provides legal advice, you always lack the touch that the mooting brings you. The mooting competitions essentially allow you to stand in pleadings ground and defend your position, a matter which as an intern in a certain department or with some organizations you would not be able to grasp. I think it provides the students with a safe environment to handle advocacy skills such as legal writing, oral pleadings, and other skills.
Q: From your past experience as a judge in various moots, what is the key skill that only a moot could teach you.
A: Essentially, I would say that mooting teaches advocacy skills, which are skills that Egyptian students do not necessarily get in the Egyptian legal environment. As we all know, in order to register as a legal practitioner in Egypt, you are not required to pass any kind of examination. So, you have the theoretical knowledge that allows you to practice, but lack the practical training and advocacy skills that are required in other jurisdictions such as France and the UK, only to name a few.
Q: Finally, Lokmen, do you have word of encouragement for those who are interested in moots in general and the FDI in specific?
A: The only word of encouragement I can think of is, just go for it. They may not be familiar with arbitration or dispute resolution in general but I believe that, reading the memos, students have put a lot of effort and I think that they should keep it up and again, just go for it.
Q: Thank you so much Lokmen for these pleasant words, and best of luck in judging today’s rounds.
A: As always, my pleasure. Thank you very much.