Fordham Law School won a first-place individual prize and placed two teams in the quarterfinals at the fifth annual LLM International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition earlier this month in Washington, D.C.
Chiara Coppotelli tied with two others for Best Oralist and led her team to the fifth-best scoring round among the 25-team field. A second Fordham Law team finished seventh overall.
Hosted by American University’s Washington College of Law, the International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition seeks to foster the study of international arbitration for the resolution of international business disputes and investment disputes. Held April 7-8, the competition focused primarily on oral advocacy before a panel of arbitration experts.
Coppotelli credited Adjunct Professor Josefa Sicard-Mirabal’s Investor-State Arbitration course for providing the team the technical skills necessary for success in the moot competition. Sicard-Mirabal also served as coach of Coppotelli’s team.
“Without her, we wouldn’t have had the chance to go to the quarters and I could never have won this prize,” Coppotelli said of Sicard-Mirabal, the former executive director of arbitration and ADR for North America for the International Court of Arbitration/SICANA, Inc. of the International Chamber of Commerce.
In her first ever competition, Coppotelli made both the claimant and respondent arguments for her team on an expropriation compensation-related problem. Nerves were not a problem, she said, because she grew up making oral presentations in her native Italy; moreover, investor-state arbitration is her passion. A double-degree student, Coppotelli is writing about the topic for the Fordham International Law Journal and is researching it for her university in Italy, LUISS Guido Carli University. She is conducting her research in Italy on investor-state arbitration with LUISS Professor Daniele Gallo, who was European Union Fulbright Schuman Scholar at Fordham Law in 2010.
“I’m studying this area not wholly for the competition but also for my personal studies and research,” she said. “When the arbitrators asked me questions outside the case, I knew how to answer because I had external knowledge of this subject area.”
Coppotelli’s teammates included Clémence Prévot, Maria Virginia Feliz Ball, and Jadranka Jakovcic. Fordham’s seventh-place team included Costanza Posarelli, Marta Ferrari, Hussam Althiyabi, and Charbel Hajj and was coached by Adjunct Professor Vera Korzun.
Jakovcic applauded the team’s cohesion. “We all worked as a team, helping each other conduct research and prepare our speeches,” she said. “I believe that respectful and cooperative teamwork, dedication, and enthusiasm that we all shared were crucial components of our success as a team.”
Prévot praised Coppotelli for having the wherewithal to act as claimant and respondent in the same day. She emphasized her strong points while defending her weaker ones and maintained the tribunal’s interest, Prévot noted.
“This was a difficult position as she had to contradict in the afternoon what she had been pleading with such zeal in the morning,” the student from France said. “But she was committed to both parties.”
Fordham’s two LLM teams featured students representing six different nationalities, who also came from distinct legal backgrounds. Prévot expressed hope that Fordham would expand the number of moot competitions LLM students have access to in the future.
“These assets should not to be overlooked, and Fordham understands it,” she said.