March 24, 2011
The Moot Court Board at Tulane University Law School, along with the Law School’s Payson Center for International Development, recently collaborated with the law faculties of Fundação Getúlio Vargas—Direito Rio in Brazil (FGV Direito-Rio), Universidad de los Andes in Colombia, and Universidad Rafael Landívar in Guatemala to organize the first Inter-American Sustainable Development Law Moot Court Competition, held March 17-20, 2011, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
While this was the first time a moot court competition has been held in Latin America, the event also distinguished itself in that teams were able to participate in any one of three major languages spoken in the Americas and the Caribbean, namely English, Portuguese, and Spanish. That is, for the first time in the history of moot court, non-English speakers were able to submit their briefs and make oral arguments in their native tongue. The American Consulate in Rio de Janeiro provided simultaneous translation services, allowing all 18 participating teams—from the United States, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Colombia, and Brazil—to understand and respond to issues raised by their competitors from other countries.
Representing Tulane at the 2011 competition, Professor Colin Crawford judged multiple rounds (including the championship), and third-year law students Ian Furman and Tom Sharp served as U.S. Co-Chairs and were highly involved in laying the competition groundwork.
Prof. Crawford, who also serves as executive director of the Payson Center, noted that the level of advocacy displayed by the teams—many of whose universities do not regularly participate in moot court events—was extraordinary. Furman, who also acted as bailiff in several rounds, was equally impressed. “It was remarkable how talented this year’s competitors were,” he said. “Every team I observed, whether in English, Portuguese, or Spanish, was professional, well-prepared, and very effective.”
Tulane University Law School and the Payson Center for International Development would like to congratulate Universidad del Rosario in Colombia for its team’s championship victory.
NOTE: Organizers say the Inter-American Sustainable Development Law Moot Court Competition is scheduled to be an annual event.
(Representing Universidad del Rosario, 2011 winning team members Diana Carolina Prado (center) and Roberto Chain-Saieh (right) proudly pose for a photo with their coach)
(2011 Inter-American Sustainable Development Law Moot Court Competition Runners-up (left to right) Carlos Arturo Villagrán, Ana Elisa Samayoa, and Alfredo Ortega from Universidad Rafael Landívar)
(left to right: Ian Furman (3L, Tulane), Professor Colin Crawford (Tulane), Professor Feliciano de Sá Guimães (FGV), Professor Paula Spieler (FGV), and Tom Sharp (3L, Tulane))