Fordham Law won the championship as well as the best brief award in the south region of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, held Feb. 21–24 in New Orleans. The team consisted of 2Ls Miyoshie Lamothe-Aime (captain), Lauren Gorab, Reece Pelley, and Tomas Barron.
Professor Maria L. Marcus, the team’s faculty coach, noted: “The competition problem was very complex, and ‘red herrings’ were scattered in it. While opposing teams became distracted by these irrelevant issues, Fordham’s team members avoided all the traps. Their level of preparation was magnificent.”
The competition case involved the fictional countries of the People’s Democratic Republic of Anduchenca and the Federal Republic of Rukaruku. Anduchenca had discovered off its coast an autonomous underwater vehicle from Rukaruku. The presence of this vehicle, along with Anduchenca’s possession of a submarine purporting to carry nuclear weapons, raised claims that international law had been breached. Rukaruku instituted international arbitration proceedings against Anduchenka.
Assuming the roles of representatives from the two countries, competitors engaged in dialogue and debate in order to reestablish peace. On Fordham’s team, Lamothe-Aime and Barron were agents for applicant Anduchenca, while Gorab and Pelley were agents for respondent Rukaruku. Though representing different countries, all four students worked together to achieve their collective team victory.
“The best part of our team is that we are all there to help each other,” said Gorab.
The team started their research last semester. Over winter break, they began writing briefs—or “memorials” as they are called at the international level. In mid-January, they commenced mooting.
“I was so fortunate to have these people on my team and not against me,” said Lamothe-Aime.
The team faced a range of challenges throughout the entire competition process. They had to make time for many hours of rigorous work within their already-busy schedules, and the necessary research was extensive. The team members were not without doubts.
“Constantly going back and second guessing yourself was stressful,” said Pelley, who also received an individual award for seventh-best oralist.
Despite the initial trepidation, their hard work paid off. During the competition, they spoke with confidence, even going so far as to correct a judge who misidentified an article number.
The team members also had support. They expressed gratitude for their bench team of fellow 2L students, and for their coaches, 3Ls Tina Milburn and Ashna Pai, who also served as student editor. The coaches, they said, played the pivotal roles of assisting with research strategies and boosting group morale.
“I’m very proud of us and glad to have shared this experience with my three teammates,” said Barron.
“We support each other inside and outside the moot court,” said Lamothe-Aime. “We don’t feel just like a team but also like a family.”
The team competed again during the first week of April in Washington, D.C. The final leg of the competition, which is the oldest and largest international moot court competition worldwide, brought together law students from 100 countries across the globe. Although the team members did not advance, they found the rounds a very exciting learning experience.