Miami Law Students Compete at the Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Competition


Annelise Sander

Annelise Sander


Annelise Sander and James East grew up outside giant metropolises; East 30 miles from Chicago and Sander a day’s drive from São Paulo, Brazil.

East is from St. Charles, Illinois. The town of 34,000 is bisected by the Fox River and is home to an annual Scarecrow Festival and one of the best libraries in America. Sander, 26, is from Maringá, named for a song, which boasts the tallest church in South America. In Maringá, the residents will tell you, there are four trees for every person.

The Catholic school system can take credit for both Sander and East 's education. Sander has five brothers and sisters; East has a younger sister and brother. Their fathers are businessmen.

Today, Sander and East are bound by debate and discussion. The two joint J.D./White & Case International Arbitration LL.M.students are preparing to depart for Germany to test wits with dozens  of teams from around the globe at the Ninth Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Competition from March 7 - 12.

The moot, a global student competition focusing on investment protection as an integral part of international economic law, spans five days of non-stop oral argument rounds. Rounding out the Miami Law team is second-year Ketan Ganase and coaches, Paula Arias, Director of the International Moot Court Program, and Joseph Matthews, Associate Director of Student Recruiting. The Miami Law team has placed at the FIAC every year since 2010, taking a first in 2011 and 2014.

Both Sander and East arrive in Europe bristling with experience. Between them, they speak five languages. Sander, who rode in equestrian events as a girl, has a Master's in Business Law, concentrating on Tax and Labor Law, from the Paraná's Institute of Education, and a Bachelor of Law from the University of Maringá School of Law. She has worked as in-house counsel for a construction and engineering company in Brazil and clerked in the Brazil National Treasury Attorney General's Office. Last year she clerked in the Global Operations Department at Bacardi, Inc.

James East

The 26-year-old football- and rugby-playing East has mentored elementary school students, volunteered at a dog rescue organization, and built a water treatment facility in Tamale, Ghana, staying on to train the local women to maintain and operate the center. He received his Bachelor's degree in Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought from Amherst College before joining White & Case LLP in Washington, D.C. as a legal assistant. There, he met Miami Law alumna and White & Case partner Carolyn Lamm, J.D. '73, and alumnus Michael Daly, J.D. ‘08. Lamm teaches investment arbitration at Miami Law as part of the school’s vast international arbitration curriculum. Lamm and Daly were both a mentors and a path to the doors of Miami Law.

"I was just seeking a taste of what it was like to practice law," he says. "I liked the high energy and dynamic environment that is a law firm.  My first case was a commercial arbitration case and, as nerdy as it sounds, I instantly caught the international arbitration bug."

Sander, who has published over 18 papers on tax, antitrust, and education law in Brazil, first joined the moot team to improve her command of English and in furtherance of future in the guardianship of assets. "I came to Miami Law for the tax program, but then I got into the moot and I never felt as good as I felt in the moot court, and in the arbitration classes," Sander says.  "So I applied for the joint degree program in international arbitration."

The law on foreign investment protection is presently the most innovative, fastest developing, and intellectually challenging branch of international law with high practical relevance. The number of investment disputes before international arbitral tribunals have increased significantly over the last decades and reflects the notable preferences of the global business community for resolving international investment disputes.

“This competition is extremely challenging for the students, as they are arguing highly complex and very controversial issues of investment law, including the use of umbrella and most-favored-nation’s clauses across treaties,” says Sandra Friedrich, Director of the White & Case Arbitration LL.M. Program, who helped prepare the team for Frankfurt.  “The students have done an amazing job in researching and analyzing these issues to develop compelling arguments for both sides.”

East is heading back to D.C. and White & Case for a summer associate position and will sit for the Florida bar in February 2017. Sander graduates in May 2017 and wants to practice international arbitration and cross-border litigation in Florida, focusing on Latin American disputes. "It feels like I am starting over after practicing in Brazil," she says. "Going to Frankfurt is very exciting and I hope we will win."