The Florida Bar International Law Section (ILS) supported five Florida law school teams that made it to the finals of this year’s Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, held every March in Vienna, Austria.
The ILS sponsored a pre-Vis moot dress rehearsal in Miami for teams from Florida International University, University of Miami, University of Florida, Stetson University, and Nova Southeastern University, and gave each of the teams a $2,500 stipend to defray their travel costs.
After the last oral arguments were scored in Vienna, three of the ILS-supported teams — UF, UM, and Stetson — came away with significant wins: UF advanced to the round of 64, UM to the final 16, and Stetson to the elite eight.
“The International Law Section and its members applaud the efforts of the Florida law school teams at this year’s International Arbitration Competition,” said ILS Chair Richard Lorenzo. “Though the law school teams and their respective members and coaches deserve the credit, the section is honored that it again supported the Florida Pre-Moot Competition and provided each participating law school a $2,500 stipend to help fund their travels and successes in Vienna.”
The Vis Moot is one of the centerpieces of the international arbitration community. This year it drew together more than 1,800 students from 295 law schools from 67 countries, as well as practitioners, academics, and arbitrators, for an intense, six-day exercise in oral advocacy. Every year, the competition focuses on a problem drawn from the United Nations Convention on Contracts in the International Sale of Goods.
This year, 49 of the teams in the competition were from the U.S., including one from each of the U.S.’s top-10 ranked law schools.
After four days of preliminary rounds, UF’s Levin College of Law team fought its way to the round of 64 for only the fourth time since its Vis Moot program started 20 years ago.
UM advanced to the single-elimination round of 64 for the second time in its history. It then made it to the final 16 after winning unanimous decisions against formidable opponents from the University of Munster (German) and Queens University (Canada), before falling in a split decision to Columbia University. UM concluded the competition with the third best performance among 49 U.S. schools. In addition, the team won an honorable mention for one of its briefs in the written component of the competition.
On its way to the elite eight, the Vis Moot team from Stetson University competed successfully against the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Germany, Hungary, India, the Netherlands, and the U.S. Only one other U.S. team made it to the final eight, along with Stetson: Columbia University. Stetson was defeated in that round by Humboldt University of Berlin. No U.S. teams made it to the final four, and the City University of Hong Kong took first place.
The Stetson team included Paul Crochet, Meagan Foley, Mike Rothfeldt, Lisa Tanaka, and Alexander Zesch, and coaches Professors Stephanie Vaughan and Joe Morrissey. (Crochet, Foley, and Zesch were recognized as some of the best individual oralists in the competition.)
Miami’s Wamiq Chowdhury, who’s aiming for an LL.M. in international arbitration, won an honorable mention as best oralist in the competition. Other Miami team members included Bianca Olivadoti, Carlos E. Nuñez, Gabriela Pirana, and Eftihios Andronis. UM was coached by John H. Rooney and Paula Arias.
UF team member Dane Ullian, who placed second in the Florida state competition in February, received an honorable mention in Vienna. Other UF team members included Alexis Leventhal, who served as captain; Julie deBruin; Phil Kegler; and coaches Professors George Dawson and Jeffrey Harrison, and adjunct coach Eduardo Palmer.