An International Team of Future International Arbitrators Head to Argentina to Judge and Moot

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Nawazish Choudhury heads to Buenos Aires for the Foreign Direct Investment Moot with the University of Miami School of Law team, he sees the travel as another opportunity to expand his horizons.

 ​Choudhury has been a barrister in London for more than eight years and recently joined Lamb Chambers. In England, lawyers are divided by solicitors and barristers. Simply put, a solicitor prepares a case; a barrister argues it.

 The Englishman steadily plowed along, reaching his every goal through hard work and determination, handling breach of contracts, commercial litigation, landlord-tenant disputes, and most any other case going before a judge.

 “I love my job as a barrister because I can combine my academic interest in law with the thrill of being an advocate,” says Choudhury. “My strength has always been a determination not to give up; I go the extra mile and put my all in to every case.”

 When Choudhury set his sights on becoming an international arbitrator, Miami Law was the obvious choice because of the outstanding reputation of its international arbitration program. The program director and coordinator were so proactive and encouraging. And the chance to sit as an arbitrator in a moot was a scale tipper.

 “A practice in international commercial and investment treaty arbitration has always appealed to me,” he says, “but I wanted to gain a thorough academic understanding into these difficult subjects by completing an LL.M. in this field.

“Naturally, the University of Miami was my first choice: its faculty is comprised of leading international arbitration practitioners in the world and I was attracted by the International Arbitration Practicum and the International Moot Court Program. I am convinced, now more than ever before, that the International Arbitration LL.M. at Miami Law will help me reach my goal to become a specialist arbitration practitioner,” said Choudhury.

Choudhury, who is a holder of the International Arbitration Institute Scholarship, goes as an arbitration judge to the FDI Moot. Joining him in judging duties will be the Young ICCA scholar Supritha Suresh and White & Case scholar Madina Lokova, all from the White & Case International Arbitration LL.M. program. Choudhury assisted in coaching the team. He also currently is completing his International Arbitration Practicum with GST LLP, a highly-ranked international arbitration boutique law firm with offices in Miami and Washington, D.C., which was founded by Miami Law alumni Quinn Smith, J.D. `08, and Mauricio Gomm, LL.M. `06.

 This is the first time that Miami Law is competing in the FDI Moot. “This competition is one of the leading moot courts in international investment law in the world and brings together students, academics, and practitioners from all around the world. Investment arbitration is one of the legal area, students of our international arbitration program can focus on in their studies.  I am happy that this year, they also will have the opportunity to put into practice during the FDI Moot what they have learned in their studies," says Sandra Friedrich, Director of the International Arbitration LL.M. program at Miami Law, who will be joined by Paula Arias, Director of the International Moot Court Program), in Buenos Aires.

 "We are very enthusiastic to participate in the FDI Moot for the first time and have been working extremely hard for many months to research and analyze the complex case scenario and underlying investment law issues. The competition will be challenging, but we are well-prepared and determined to make it a success," says Arias.

 The moot team of International Arbitration J.D./LL.M. joint degree students James East (U.S.), Annelise Sander (Brazil) and Brian Vaca (Ecuador/U.S.), are all international moot veterans. Vaca participated in the UBA-Rosario Spanish-language International Arbitration moot last year, East and Sander participated in the Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Competition the past two years. The fourth team member is 3L Ketan Ganase. 

Both East and Vaca have accepted offers to join White & Case's Washington, D.C. international arbitration practice, under partners Carolyn Lamm and Jonathan Hamilton. Both Lamm and Hamilton will teach courses focused on investment arbitration and international investment law – the topic of the FDI Moot – this coming Spring 2017 in Miami Law’s International Arbitration LL.M. program.

The FDI Moot was initiated in 2006 by the Center for International Legal Studies in Salzburg, Austria; five institutions came together to establish the FDI Moot as a new international moot court competition focusing on Investor-State disputes. The venue for Global Finals rotates among the four other co-founders, in Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. However, now and then, the FDI Moot goes "off-circuit," and this year, for the first time, it will take place in Latin America: Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Increasing international investment, the proliferation of international investment treaties, domestic legislation, and international investment contracts have contributed to the development of a new field of international law that defines obligations between host States and foreign investors and refers to internationalized procedures (e.g. ICSID) for resolving related disputes. The FDI Moot helps future lawyers attain a practical understanding of these issues. This year's hypothetical involves complex issues relating to the definition of investor, pre-arbitral steps, most-favored-nations treatment for procedural issues, indirect expropriation and damage calculations. The Final Global Rounds will be held from 3-6 November 2016 at the Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Most of Miami Law's international arbitration moot competitors are students in the White & Case International Arbitration LL.M. Program. The program, under the leadership of Professor Jan Paulsson, provides an unparalleled individualized curriculum encompassing international commercial and investment arbitration. Additionally, it offers unique practical learning opportunities for a small group of top-quality students from around the globe, wishing to acquire in-depth knowledge and skills in the field of international arbitration as a platform for a successful career. The program - the only one of its kind in the U.S. – v  - is open to U.S. and foreign-trained law graduates and attorneys, and is ideal for newcomers to the field or experienced practitioners looking to enrich their skills and knowledge. For the first time this year, Miami Law offers a half-tuition merit scholarship to a participant of the FDI Moot (student, coach, or arbitrator).

 “In the International Moot Court Program here at Miami Law, we try to replicate the work that a team of lawyers would do when representing an international client – a State, a multinational corporation or an individual – seeking redress for violations of its rights under international law. The Program is one of its kind and gives the students the opportunity to study international law through a practical moot experience with the support and guidance of practitioners and academics in the field as well as a network of former Miami Law “mooties” located around the world, many of whom now practice in this exciting field of law.”

 While Choudhury doesn't speak Spanish or Portuguese, he doesn't see that as an impediment to his future career practicing as arbitration counsel and eventually as an arbitrator. "America really is the land of hope and opportunity. The international arbitration field offers a wealth of options," he says. "Arbitration hubs exist all over the world. I could find myself in Dubai, London, or representing European or Middle Eastern clients in South America, where an increasing number of arbitrations are being conducted in English. It's really interesting stuff." But in the short term, he wishes for “fair winds” in Argentina.