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International Moot Court Competition is one for the Records

April 29, 2011

Tulane University Law School’s international moot court team, the Vienna Vis, recently advanced as a finalist at the 18th Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot competition held in Vienna, Austria, April 15-21, 2011. Ultimately, the Tulane Law School team finished in the top 64 and surpassed 80 percent of its competition, which included a record 262 teams involving approximately 2,500 participants from 66 countries.

Referred to as the “Olympic Games of International Trade Law,” the Intraschool Vis Arbitral Moot in Vienna is considered the largest and most prestigious moot court competition in the world. Representing the Tulane team in this year’s high-standing competition were second-year law students Nicholas Cenac, Morgan Levy, and Joel Talley, as well as third-year law student Ethan Minshull, who also serves as a Vis Moot student coach with fellow 3Ls Meghan Shumaker and Ashvi Sivapalan.

In addition to the highly successful performance of the Vista Vis team orals, Minshull—a late-comer to the team—was awarded second “Best Individual Oralist” during the general rounds of the competition (four oral hearings of each team), based on the scored performances of some 1,300-plus individual advocates. Minshull’s second-place finish is the highest in the history of Tulane law’s participation in the Vienna competition.*

Unable to make the trip but equally applauded for their longstanding service as faculty advisors are Tulane law professors Robert Force and Martin Davies. Team member Nick Cenac commended the professors’ dedication and commitment to the Vis team.

“I feel honored and humbled to have been selected to join the team and work with such remarkable people,” said Cenac. “Our coaches and advisors have given us such strong support and encouragement, and I cannot express how grateful I am to have had this opportunity.”

The case in the 18th Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court was approximately seventy pages long and dealt with the distribution and sales of squid in international trade.

The objective of the Moot is to foster study in the areas of international commercial and arbitration laws and to encourage the resolution of business disputes by arbitration. The problem for the Moot is always based on an international sales transaction, subject to the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, and also involves procedural issues of arbitration. The Moot requires submission of written memoranda prior to oral argument.

* The Martin Domke Award for Best Individual Oralist in the General Rounds is based on eligibility. A qualified participant must have argued at least once for the Claimant and once for the Respondent.


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