Fanny Bratfos, Brian Brodeur, Marte Hoevde, Adam Martin, Marcella Rabinovich, Morgan Rhinehart, and Chad Sliger are embarking on a busy spring to prepare for the The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna, Austria. It is the first time that a Penn State Law Vis team will consist of both J.D. and LL.M. students.
Marte Hoevde is in the fifth and final year of her law studies at the University of Bergen in Norway while pursuing an LL.M. degree at Penn State. She was introduced to the Vis Moot competition through her International Commercial Arbitration course and said the pre-moot was a good experience because she got a taste of how it will be to argue both sides before different tribunals in a short period of time. In Norway, Hoevde said her law studies only consisted of writing courses. Through the competition, she has the opportunity to prepare oral arguments and work on her oral advocacy skills.
“Since English is not my first language, participating in the oral practice sessions and the pre-moot has especially been a very educational experience, as I have had to ‘think on my feet’ while answering challenging questions about legal issues in English,” said Hoevde. “The practices so far has already enhanced my oral skills and made me more comfortable in this setting.”
A New Selection Process
For the first time, members of the Vis team were chosen through a pre-moot selection competition at the Law School on February 1. Twenty-six Penn State Law students tried out by arguing against teams from Rutgers, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Maryland.
Professor Catherine Rogers, a scholar of international arbitration, organized the event with help from faculty members Lou Del Duca, Beth Farmer, Sam Bufford, and Julie Metzger. Law School alumni also donated their time and expertise to judge the event; Jeff Jeng, Idil Tumer, Sean Martin, and Sarah Stec sat as mock arbitrators. Mahmoud Mourad, an LL.M. student and judge from Egypt, and LL.M. student Hayati Irkicatal also served as mock arbitrators.
The new team is now preparing for the Willem C. Vis competition in Vienna this April. The competition involves a dispute from a contract of sales between two countries and provides students with the opportunity to study international commercial law, dispute resolution, advocacy, and the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the Sale of Goods.