Joint Degree Student Travels to Costa Rica and New York for International Arbitration Congress and Competition


Michael Lorigas

With his post-law school life on the horizon, joint degree J.D./LL.M. in International Arbitration student Michael Lorigas has dreams. But first, he has to travel to Costa Rica this week for the International Chamber of Commerce’s VII International Arbitration Congress. And then he is New York-bound the following week to participate in the Tenth Annual Fordham Law Vis Pre-moot. Miami Law’s International Arbitration program helps students, like Lorigas, to open doors to the world of international arbitration by providing regular opportunities to attend and actively participate in international arbitration conferences.

At the ICC Congress in San Jose, Lorigas will join fellow Miami Law International Arbitration J.D./LL.M. Joint Degree student Brian Vaca and Sandra Friedrich, Director of the White & Case International Arbitration LL.M. Program on a mock international arbitration case panel.  Joining them are international arbitration adjunct faculty members and distinguished arbitration practitioners John H. Rooney and Luis O’Naghten.

The panel will highlight distinctive features of the ICC arbitral process and provide valuable insights for the audience on differences between international arbitration proceedings under the ICC Rules, and civil law and U.S.-style litigation respectively, including a case management conference and the cross-examination of witnesses. The conference is bilingual, and will be conducted in both English and Spanish.

Professor Jan Paulsson, holder of the Michael Klein Distinguished Scholar Chair and Faculty Chair for the International Arbitration LL.M. Program at Miami Law and Marike Paulsson, Director of Miami Law’s International Arbitration Institute will speak at the conference as well. This year’s topic will be “New Arbitration Practices, New Actors, New Trends.”  The conference, attended by over 200 participants from around the Americas and beyond, includes leading arbitration counsel, arbitrators, corporate counsel and academics.

Less than a week later, Lorigas and the rest of Miami Law’s Vis International Arbitration Moot Court team will travel to New York City to compete in the Tenth Annual Fordham Law Vis Pre-moot, the most significant pre-moot competition in the U.S. Filling out the team is James Chang, International Arbitration LL.M. student, Devon Arnold and David Archer (both 3Ls), as well as Friedrich, who is one of the team coaches. The team will be competing against dozens other teams from all parts of the world.

Last year, Lorigas's team didn't advance at the Vis. "I am out to avenge our name," says the 24-year-old, whose favorite book is A Time to Kill.  "I want redemption."

The Dean's lister and Dean’s Fellow for the International LL.M has the chops to deliver; his John T. Gaubatz Moot Court Competition team went to the semi-finals, and he won best brief at the competition last October.

Until graduation in May, there are still classes to attend, clerking duties at Kozyak, Tropin & Throckmorton, as well as preparing for the Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition. And, of course, the grand finale: the Bar -- to study, to take, and to pass.

Lorigas's program, the White & Case International Arbitration LL.M. Program, features an unparalleled curriculum of specialized theoretical and practical courses on international commercial and investment arbitration, taught by an internationally-renowned faculty, comprising world-class arbitration practitioners, who help students start or advance their careers in international arbitration. Additionally, the students are exposed to a multitude of educational and networking events in Miami, the U.S. or elsewhere throughout their studies, to help them start or advance their careers in international arbitration.  

And it is not that the Fort Lauderdale native doesn't love law school, he does. "I came for the reputation," Lorgias says with an easy smile. "Miami Law has so much to offer: great professors, exposure to so many different facets of law and practice, and the alumni network is the best in Florida."

But the boy – who dreamed of becoming the Ninja Turtle Michelangelo and whose penchant for reading opened him to the world of law through the writings of John Grisham – has become a man who looks forward to reading something besides The Bramble Bush and spending some quality time kayaking Biscayne Bay instead of Shepardizing cases.