UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State Law Willem C. Vis Moot Court Competition Team advanced further than any prior Penn State team by reaching the Round of 32 at the 23rd annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition in Vienna last month.
Students Saleh Abbadi, Zach Bollman, Radu Giosan, and Philip Reinhart, along with Professors Catherine A. Rogers and Samuel L. Bufford, represented Penn State Law at the competition.
The Vis Moot is regarded as “the Olympics of international trade law” due in part to its large attendance, featuring 311 schools from 67 countries. In total, 1,993 registered student participants and 860 arbitrators were part of the more than 3,000 students, academics, and professionals involved in the weeklong competition.
Student advocates Giosan, a 2L, and Reinhart, a 3L, competed in four preliminary rounds against Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Doshisha University (Japan), Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), and Universidade Positivo (Brazil). Each team’s preliminary round scores were added together to produce a total score that was then used to rank the teams. The top 64 teams advanced to the elimination rounds. Penn State Law’s aggregate score placed it in the Round of 64—considered to be the benchmark of success for the Vis Moot Competition.
In the Round of 64, Penn State Law faced the University of Jena (Germany) and earned a victory to advance to the Round of 32. In the Round of 32, the team faced off against The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple (U.K.) and lost in a 2-1 decision.
The Penn State Law team was overseen by Rogers, who is an internationally recognized scholar of international arbitration and professional ethics at Penn State Law, and Bufford, a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Penn State Law who is a former U.S. bankruptcy judge and an expert on U.S. and international insolvency law.
Membership on the Penn State Law Vis Moot Team gives J.D., L.L.M., and S.J.D. students the opportunity to compete in the largest private international law competition in the world. Penn State Law students draft legal briefs and participate in oral arguments before some of the world’s most renowned international arbitrators. By participating in the Vis Moot, students gain valuable professional experience in one of the most dynamic legal fields.
In addition to the Vis Moot itself, the Penn State Law Vis Moot program partners with the Penn State International Arbitration Group (PSIAG) and the Penn State Law Yearbook on Arbitration and Mediation (YAM). Together, these organizations host an annual symposium and pre-moot. The YAM symposium features prominent arbitration professors and practitioners who present their current research and engage in an interactive discussion with students.
After the symposium, the Vis Team and PSIAG host the Penn State Law Pre-Moot. Each year the pre-moot marks the beginning of the Vis Moot season and brings together more than 40 students and coaches from the U.S. and Canada to practice their arguments before tribunals composed of international arbitration experts from both Penn State Law and around the world.
Along with Penn State Law’s pre-moot, team members also participate in additional pre-moots against teams at law firms and universities in New York, Washington D.C., and Europe. These pre-moots give Penn State students the opportunity to hone their arguments against teams from varying backgrounds and advocacy styles.
“By placing in the top 32 at the Vis Moot, Penn State Law made a strong introduction to the international arbitration community,” said Giosan. “Advancing to the elimination rounds demonstrated that Penn State Law possesses the high quality education—backed by a committed administration, faculty, and students—to be an important player in the international arbitration community.”
Students interested in joining the Penn State Law Vis Moot team should contact Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org.