Two internships after competing in the Amsterdam Law Trials

30 June 2017

Law major student Marlene Straub competed as a judge in the Amsterdam Law Trials competition 2017 and made it to the finals. She can look forward to two legal internships as a result of her outstanding performance.

Marlene: 'Let me start by saying the most stereotypical thing to have ever been stereotypically said: my experience doing the Amsterdam Law Trials was very rewarding. There. Obviously I made it to the final because I have a way with words.'

Qualified and able

'Jokes aside, I am shocked that I made it as far as I did. All along the way I competed with people I thought would beat me easily, especially since the cases were predominantly Dutch law and I have a basically nonexistent understanding of the language, much less the law.'

'Throughout the law track at PPLE you wonder whether the law you learn is enough, if you’re qualified to continue in the field, whether people will take you seriously and so on. The Law Trials gave me renewed confidence that I made the right choice, and I will actually be able to compete. In the end, continuing in (non-Dutch) law is the career path I will be following. Maybe one day becoming an actual judge.'

On being judgemental

'On a different note, I would like to give a shoutout to my two fellow PPLE judges, Bela and Berend. Bela has the sharpest mind in the entire law track, possibly PPLE, and Berend has a confidence that could easily make him a cult-leader. I joke, but they are great people and both would have deserved to win. People have told me more than once that I’m a judgemental person, so maybe my judgementality for once was a winning characteristic?'

Marlene Straub as judge in the ALT

The proceedings

'In the first trial, me and my PPLE colleagues had to preside over the proceedings between the team of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Vrije Universiteit (VU). Really, it should have been over for me that round, because I can’t keep a straight face. The VU team - who accompanied me into the final - started their opening statements with drama and exaggeration that I had previously only known from badly acted TV shows. Afterward their coach came up to me and told me that it was very visible that I was trying not to laugh. Apparently everyone in the room could see my jaw clench. Needless to say I was very embarrassed, although they would have been more embarrassed had I laughed at their performance. I did make fun of them for it afterward. We get along, it’s great.'

'The semifinal was different. While I would have happily traded places with Bela and Berend, I really wanted to win this time. At least beat Amsterdam University College (AUC), which I did. I would like to thank all my PPLE friends who glared at my opponents, distracted me and fed me snacks in the breaks - that helped. The fact that my favourite tutor was sitting in the first row and both Law Faculty and PPLE deans were staring into my very insecure soul did, however, not help. But in the end I made it to the final which was my goal. So did the VU team, whose drama was an ongoing source of entertainment. Of course in addition to their legal reasoning, which should have won them the trials, in my opinion.'

'I would be lying if I said I wasn’t sad about losing, but I feel less bad about it, knowing how close it was - as everyone keeps on repeating to me non-stop. Second place is okay, I guess.'

Networking opportunities

'I ended up getting to know a lot of interesting people from the other law studies in Amsterdam. Including Kristine, the UvA judge I ended up losing to. She was a worthy opponent, and I’ll beat her next time. In other news, somehow along the way I snagged two internships. No idea how that happened, but I’m not complaining.

For those who are considering (re-)entering the Amsterdam Law Trials next year: do it. The experience is great, it’s different to anything else academic you do at PPLE, and stereotypically rewarding.'

Published by  PPLE