IIT Chicago-Kent advances to the 2010 Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition finals

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chicago-Kent College of Law has earned a berth in the finals of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. Chicago-Kent finished second among a field of 24 law schools in the Southeast Super-Regional competition, held in Miami February 25 to 28. The team is one of only a dozen U.S. law schools that will vie for the international championship in the world's largest moot court competition March 21 to 27 at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The students argued a hypothetical case before the International Court of Justice involving the discovery of remote islands in the 18th century, and a dispute over their sovereignty, resources and people continuing into the present era. The case included technical issues concerning the diplomatic protection of shareholders under a bilateral investment treaty.

Chicago-Kent defeated Emory, Washington and Lee, Wake Forest and Florida State in the preliminary rounds and was seeded second among the 24 competing schools. Advancing to the quarterfinals, Chicago-Kent beat the University of Miami. After defeating Duke in the semifinal round, Chicago-Kent lost in a split decision to the first-seeded University of Georgia team. The top two teams in the regional tournament advanced to the finals. Chicago-Kent's written memorandum tied for second place, and Ryan Kovach was recognized as the fourth best Oralist overall.

Team captain Maria Richardson is a third-year student who studied jurisprudence at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University). Teammate and second-year student Ryan Kovach graduated from Loras College, where he majored in political science and Spanish. Teammate Kevin Lahm, also a second-year student, is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a double major in political science and German. Teammate Varun Chandrasekaran is a second-year student who earned an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Southern California. Teammate and third-year student Angelena Bertera majored in economics and Chinese at William & Mary.

The team was coached by Professor Bartram S. Brown, co-director of Chicago-Kent's Program in International and Comparative Law; Chicago-Kent Professor Edward C. Harris; and LL.M. student Sondra Furcajg, a Jessup veteran from France. Several Chicago-Kent International Law Moot Court alumni also helped the team prepare for the tournament.

Established by the International Law Students Association (ILSA) in 1959, the Jessup competition is the oldest moot court competition dedicated to international law. The tournament is named for diplomat, scholar and jurist Philip Caryl Jessup (1897-1986), who played a key role in the formation of the International Law Commission in 1948, and served a nine-year term as the U.S. representative to the International Court of Justice. White & Case LLC, an international law firm with offices on five continents, has partnered with the ILSA to become the official sponsor of the international finals in Washington, D.C.

Over 500 law schools from more than 80 countries participate in the national and regional qualifying tournaments. Chicago-Kent is one of 12 U.S. law schools from six regions in this year's tournament to qualify for international rounds.

Chicago-Kent College of Law is the law school of Illinois Institute of Technology, a private, Ph.D.-granting institution with programs in engineering, psychology, architecture, business, design and law. Chicago-Kent's appellate advocacy teams have won numerous individual student honors and regional and national competitions. In 2008, Chicago-Kent became the first law school in more than 30 years to win back-to-back championships in the National Moot Court Competition.