In the International Moot Court Program, students represent the University of Miami School of Law in various legal competitions around the world while obtaining course credit. The program is comprised of both a workshop and participation in one international moot court competition.
What is an international moot court competition?
These are interschool competitions that take place across the globe. In front of a mock International Tribunal, students act as counselors and advocate the different sides of a case based on a problem written by an organization or school. The students analyze the problem, identify the legal issues, research the law, write the briefs and orally present it to the moot court. In essence, the students learn how to litigate a case in front of an international tribunal doing what an attorney does in real life.
Why become a member of this program?
Students interested in having fun, while engaging in challenging litigation and international law experiences, are ideal for this program. Also, though it is not required, participation in the International Moot Court Board student organization is a great way to prepare for the International Moot Court Program. Through this program students:
- Develop effective advocacy techniques
- Participate in opportunities which improve analytical, research, and writing skills
- Become exposed to different cultures and legal systems
- Meet distinguished attorneys and judges that practice international law
- Create an international law network
- Enhance their law school education through a hands-on, fun experience
Program Requirements & Workshop
- 2L, 3L and LL.M. students may try out for the program
- Excellent advocacy skills or a desire to learn advocacy skills
- 3.0 GPA
- Good writing and research skills
- Though not required, other languages are a plus, especially Spanish and Portuguese
Workshop: Part of the International Moot Court Program is a workshop that provides students with the opportunity to refine their written and oral advocacy skills on international law litigation. The course covers basic concepts of international law, public and private, plus oral advocacy skills and research techniques. The workshop is worth 4 academic credits, divided in two semesters:
- 2 credits during the fall semester, where the grade is based on coursework
- 2 credits during the spring Semester, where the grade is based on moot court competition preparation and performance
- Classes meet Fridays at 11:00 am in classroom F402.
COMPETITIONS (Areas of the law and competitions in which Miami Law participates)
International Public Law:
The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is the world's largest moot court competition, with participants from over 550 law schools in more than 80 countries. The Competition takes place in March in Washington, D.C. and entails a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations.
The Susan J. Ferrell Moot Court Competition is a competition that takes place in Miami, FL. It revolves around a simulated court proceeding, in which teams representing both sides of the argument prepare written pleadings with respect to a fictional problem of international human rights law and policy, and present their arguments in an oral argument before the International Court of Justice.
International Criminal Law:
The annual International Criminal Court (ICC) Moot Competition held at Pace University School of Law in White Plains, NY is now the official English language round for the ICC Trial Competition held in The Hague.
The ICC Trial Competition takes place at The Hague in April. It is unique in its direct focus on ICC proceedings and international criminal law. The competition allows law students with a common interest in international criminal law to come together, meet other budding lawyers from around the world in an exciting and fun setting and to meet highly respected legal figures in international criminal law.
International Human Rights Law:
The Price Media Law Moot Court Programme takes place in January in New York City and is more than a moot court. More broadly, the Moot Court Programme is also a tool for raising the profile of freedom of expression by bringing informed and effective debate and discussion on significant issues of information flows and technology to many parts of the world.
The Inter-American Human Rights Competition occurrs in Washington, D.C. and was established to train attorneys on how to use the Inter-American human rights legal system as a legitimate forum for redressing human rights violations.
The Inter-American Sustainable Development Law Moot Court Competition takes place in March in Rio, Brazil. It is the first international, multi-lingual moot court competition held in South America. While the main theme is sustainable development, the competition necessarily draws from other areas of law, including human rights, energy, and environmental law.
International Investment Law:
The Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot Court is the international student competition focusing on investment protection which takes place each March in Frankfurt, Germany. The students present their arguments orally before tribunals of arbitration compose of investment treaty specialists.
International Commercial Arbitration Law:
Each year in Vienna, Austria, the goal of the Willem C. Vis Arbitral Moot is to foster the study of international commercial law and arbitration for resolution of international business disputes. The competition applies a concrete problem of a client and to train law leaders of tomorrow in methods of alternative dispute resolution.
La Competición Internacional de Arbitraje y Derecho Mercantil (Moot Madrid) tiene diversos objetivos que giran en torno a la formación de los estudiantes de Derecho en cuestiones relativas al Derecho Uniforme del Comercio Internacional y su resolución mediante el Arbitraje Mercantil Internacional.
La Competencia UBA-Rosario International Commercial Arbitration (The University of Buenos Aires and University of the Rosario September, Buenos Aires, Argentina) es una propuesta educativa con formato competitivo, cuyo proposito es fomentar el estudio del derecho comercial internacional y el arbitraje como método de resolucion de conflictos.
Student Testimonials/Videos: International Moot Court Program
Without a doubt, my participation in international moot court has been the most fulfilling experience of my law school career, both academically and personally. My team, alongside Professor Arias and our coach, invested a countless amount of hours and effort in preparation for the competition, which concluded in an exciting and rewarding week of oral rounds at Universidad del Rosario in Bogota. Through the representation of our school in the competition I gained an unparalleled practical experience and honed my analytical, research and oral advocacy skills that practicing attorneys must have. Also, while in Bogota, I had the opportunity to meet and network with renowned professionals in the field of international commercial arbitration and young aspiring lawyers from around the globe with whom I have formed friendship bonds. The downside of participating in the competition is that the extensive level of dedication necessary added to the stress of a maximum course load and considerably shortened the time one would spend in other activities; however, the feeling of achievement once the competition is over was more than enough to make those late nights and weekends meetings worthwhile. I am certain that during the rest of my legal career I will continue to draw upon the skills and the substantive knowledge I obtained in the competition. In sum, international moot court is a great opportunity to travel, learn and compete internationally in a thriving area of law.
Sometime in July of 2012, I was selected to participate in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot the world's largest and most prestigious international arbitration moot competition. Last year's moot attracted 296 schools from 67 countries. And, for the first time in the school's history, the Miami Team advanced beyond the round of 64. In fact, we advanced all the way to the round of 16. I am particularly proud of this success, as I argued three out of the four preliminary rounds, and all of the elimination rounds in which we participated. Moreover, I was nominated co-editor of our written submissions, one of which received an honorable mention out of the 295 submitted! Without a doubt, my participation in international moot court has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my law school career. First, I have advanced my written and oral advocacy skills to a level that I didn't think was possible. Second, and somewhat more importantly, this experience has introduced me to an entirely new field of law. For example, this summer during my summer associate position, I was one of the only people at the firm who had extensively studied the International Bar Association Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration. As a result, I got to the opportunity to work on one of the only international cases we had in the office. Indeed, this introduction to international commercial arbitration could very well define the rest of my legal career.
In preparation for the MOOTMadrid competition our team invested a great amount of time and effort, which culminated in an exciting week of oral rounds at some of the most prestigious law firms in Madrid. Representing our school in the competition gave us the opportunity to network with distinguished professionals in the field of international arbitration and compete alongside students from around the world also interested in this field of law. All in all, the competition was a thoroughly rewarding experience.
My experience with the UM International Moot Court Board gave me unparalleled practical experience. Through the competitions with the board, I strengthened my substantive knowledge of international law and sharpened my litigation skills. The training received through the program gave me a greater awareness of my body language and vocal style and taught me to play to my strengths in order to persuade. These skills were essential in being honored in International competitions but are also skills that are useful in an interview settings. The board furthermore gave me an opportunity to meet many like-minded students from around the world and to meet impressive professionals in the fields of law that most interest me. The two competitions I participated in (VIS and MOOTMadrid) were essential in helping me secure my current employment. They allowed me to demonstrate my knowledge of International Arbitration in a global setting in both English and Spanish.
It was a tremendous experience. Mainly for me, to have a chance to argue in a language other than my primary language which is Portuguese. I have learned during the entire process, since we started to do the research, we really studied in depth the international conventions like the CIGS, the Ottawa Convention, the UNCITRAL Model Law, among others. In Madrid, we met students from all over the world and were able to fell what it is to be part of an international arbitral proceeding. The arbitrators were very professional and in certain occasions even tough on us, but it is all part of the learning experience. Unfortunately we did not win the competition, but we certainly won a very large amount of practical experience. Simply awesome!
Participating on the IMCB's Jessup International Moot Court team was my most valued experience throughout law school. I was given the opportunity to develop strong relationships with professors, students, and attorneys in the South Florida community that are passionate about Public International Law. I gained valuabe experience researching law, drafting legal arguments, and advocating. It was a rewarding experience that I am grateful to have been a part of for two years, and I will continue to draw upon the skills I learned.
My experience with Vis this past year was also the best experience of my law school career. When I was selected to the team in September I joined a team with some experienced competitors and I have to say I was a bit intimidated. However, with months of practice from three stellar coaches as well as learning from and being encouraged by my teammates we eventually formed into a very strong group of competitors. A group in which all 5 participants became an interchangeable team. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more and more about arbitration and dissecting the problem. I thought it was the best way to learn a subject, because it was through practical application.
However, beyond the academic endeavor, what I loved most about participating in Vis was competing with, interacting with and becoming friends with fellow competitors from around the world. Having participated in 3 pre-moots before the competition in Vienna we were able to become very comfortable arguing the problem in a formal setting. We also we able to meet numerous teams again and again and establish lasting relationships with them. It was a wonderful experience to be able to learn from students who may be studying law in a different way or different place but going through many of the same trials and tribulations we were.
I felt very excited and proud of our performance in the Inter-American Competition in D.C., and we left the competition with the confidence that we represented ourselves, our school, and even our country, in a wonderful light. The comments from the judges in each of our 3 preliminary rounds also supported our confidence - we were told we had great poise, knew the arguments very well, made excellent eye contact with the judges, were respectful and yet, forceful and confident with our arguments. I had an overall wonderful experience and we were very pleased with our performance at the competition. We also met many great and interesting students and even made some truly great friends.
Hear Carlos Nunez, JD '13 and former President of the International Moot Court Board, discuss his experience.