For the first time in its history, Case Western Reserve University School of Law won the Phillip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition Saturday, April 12, in Washington, D.C. The Jessup Competition, now in its 49th year, is the world's largest and most prestigious Moot Court tournament.
This year 598 schools from 98 different countries competed. Case Western Reserve's victory marked just the second time in 14 years—and third since 1990—an American team was crowned world champion. The coveted Jessup Cup will reside at the law school for the next year.
"The Jessup team's historic accomplishment speaks volumes about the quality of our students and our international law program," said Michael Scharf, professor of law and director of the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center. "Everyone I spoke to said it was the best Jessup finals in 20 years."
The tournament victory was the most recent accolade for the international law program at Case Western Reserve, which two weeks ago earned a top 20 national ranking (16th) in a U.S. News and World Report national survey of law professors.
The team consisted of third-year law students Zachary Lampell, Alex Laytin and Brianne Draffin and second-year law students Margaux Day and Patrick Dowd.
Day and Latvin argued in the final round, representing the applicant, with Day winning the award as best final round speaker.
The competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations. Representing both sides of the argument, each Jessup team is required to prepare oral and written pleadings. This year's problem concerned issues related to the tension between respecting human rights and effectively countering a clear and present terrorist threat.
The Case Western Reserve team was undefeated during the week-long competition, beating DePaul University, Koc University (Turkey), Universidad de Los Andes (Colombia), and Boston College in the preliminary rounds April 7-9. The team then defeated Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), University of Singapore and University College London (United Kingdom) in the elimination rounds before besting University of New South Wales (Australia) in the championship round Saturday.
Earlier this year, the Case Western Reserve team won the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Super Regional to advance to the Shearman & Sterling International Rounds along with the winners of the other U.S. super regionals and the national winners from 98 different countries, the most ever to compete in the Jessup Competition. It was the third time in four years that Case Western Reserve won its regional and advanced to the International Rounds.
The International Rounds were held concurrently with the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law, which was co-chaired this year by Scharf.
The Case Western Reserve team was coached by Beth Young, a former national rounds champion from the School of Law and currently a judicial clerk for a federal district judge and adjunct professor at the school. More than 20 law school faculty and local practitioners helped prepare the team by judging practice rounds.
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