"Location, location, location" is a popular adage for property buyers. For Miami Law's International Moot Court Program, the phrase is "preparation, preparation, preparation."
"My experience with International Moot Court was an incredibly positive one," said Simone Kriger, who participated last year in the Fiac moot and is a Corporate Fellow at Greenberg Traurig, LLP. "I joined the moot court board to improve my oral advocacy skills, gain confidence in my abilities, and meet people. Throughout the process, all three of these goals were met."
In February, an International Moot Court team from Miami Law participated in White & Case's Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition at the Rocky Mountain Regionals in Denver. Preparation for the competition began in August last year. The team members took classes in international law and met twice a week with the program director to learn new areas of international law, including international environmental law and immigration law. The topic in this year's competition was particularly interesting: What would happen if an island state completely submerged under water? Would it retain statehood? Once this challenging problem was proposed in September, the team members were dedicated to researching four issues presented to them and drafting comprehensive briefs on both sides of the issues. The brief was submitted in January and the team went to Denver in mid-February for the oral rounds of the competition. Throughout training for the oral rounds, team members Laura Burgess, T.J. Green, Sam Kugbei and Grant Lyons presented their arguments in front of judges — Professors Bernard H. Oxman, Rebecca Sharpless and David Abraham, and Jessica Carvalho Morris, Director of the International and Foreign Graduate Programs. The students received crucial feedback before heading to Denver.
In the Jessup oral rounds, Miami Law competed in four rounds before a panel of three judges. In one round, Miami Law had the honor of presenting in front of Joe Terrenzio, Jessup's Competition Coordinator. In giving the teams feedback, Torrenzio noted that the Miami Law students' working knowledge and presentation of international law — one of three categories observed in the competition, alongside style and time management — was excellent.
The competition was a success for Miami Law. The team was presented with a 4th place Best Memorial Award out of the 19 teams that were competing in the Rocky Mountain Regional. The Best Memorial Award is one of the most distinguished praises in a moot court competition.
"I participated in the Frankfurt Investment Arbitration competition and I was fortunate to have great teammates," Kriger recalled. "Our coach was tough and expected a lot from us but I think that this approach really brought out the best in each of us. There were moments where I just wanted to give up and walk away but it was in those moments that the team really pulled together."
This year, the international moot court program and its 35 students are participating in nine moot courts around the world. The students have traveled from Miami to Vienna so far. They began the academic year in October, traveling to Washington D.C. with the International Commercial Arbitration UBA Moot Competition, which is organized by the University of Buenos Aires and in which the students compete in Spanish. During that first moot, a group of six students participated and advanced for the first time to the eliminatory rounds.
Since January, Miami Law students have participated in the Price Media Law Moot in New York, where the students discussed a case about social networking, freedom of expression and state actions. They were in the Susan Ferrell Moot, where Miami Law received two awards, one for the best memorial and one best oralist, given to Joseph Mathews, 2L. Additionally, a group of four students returned recently from Frankfurt, where they participated in an Investment Arbitration Moot Competition — the Miami Law team was ranked as the 6th best team out of 36 around the world.
"My experience at the competition itself was invaluable," said Kriger. "It was only when I was actually competing that I realized how far I had come over the past few months and how much confidence I had gained. We did not advance as far as I had hoped but, although I was disappointed, I am still really proud of my teammates and myself.
"I would recommend the International Moot Court to everyone!" she said. "It was the single most rewarding experience I have had throughout my law school career, both in South Africa and in the U.S.A., and I now have so much more confidence in my abilities as an attorney. I also have some wonderful friends!"