Students Prepare to Compete in Moot Competitions Across the Globe; Some in Spanish and Portuguese


During Moot Madrid, the Miami Law team is seen here arguing at one of the Spanish law firms during the competition. Miami Law Students Prepare for Moot Competitions Across the Globe (Photo: Miami Law) 

After undergoing a rigorous tryout process for the International Moot Court Program, Miami Law students are now honing their debate skills through arduous trainings and long practices with Director Paula Arias in preparation for the international moot season.

In April 2014 a team of four students will travel to Spain to compete in the Spanish-language Moot Madrid competition, where they will argue issues of international commercial arbitration and unified theory of international commercial contracts and transactions. Moot Madrid is one of two competitions conducted completely in Spanish. Miami Law is the only U.S. team that has consistently participated since Moot Madrid started in 2009, and last season, they were the only U.S. team.

Miami Law also competes in Spanish moots against schools such as American University in the International Commercial Arbitration Moot organized by the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), held one year in Argentina and the next in Colombia.

Additionally, Miami Law competes in Spanish, English, or Portuguese in other international competitions including the trilingual Inter-American Moot Court Competition in Washington, D.C. and the trilingual Sustainable Environmental Moot Court in Bogota, Colombia, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

While there is not a Gran Prix of Moots, there are few competitions that are considered more prestigious in which Miami Law competes yearly. These include the Jessup, the Inter-American, the ICC Trial Competition and the Vis Investment Arbitration Moot. Last year Miami Law advanced to one of the elite final rounds in the "Vis" - the world’s largest and most prestigious international arbitration moot competition. There is also the highly competitive Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot, where Miami Law will be the only U.S. school participating this year and a competition which Miami Law won in 2011.

Last season, for the first time, Miami Law was eliminated in the preliminary rounds in Moot Madrid and ICA Buenos Aires competitions. However, Miami Law previously has always made to the semifinals in Moot Madrid and one student is always prized as best oralist; in the moot at UBA, Miami Law moved from the preliminary rounds last year and one student won an honorable mention.

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. These multiple interschool competitions take place across the globe and in them Miami Law students have the opportunity to argue different international law issues and work with other future attorneys from different countries, cultures and legal systems.

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.

"My goal every year is to prepare the students on the broad area of law that is international law and prepare the student on international advocacy that compromises cultural awareness and complex analytical skills," said Arias. "I admit happily that Miami Law students exceed my expectations every year and UM is getting recognized as place to study international litigation and arbitration skills."