ILS Supports Florida Finalists in Vienna Arbitration Moot

Tallahassee, Fla.— April 16, 2013– The Florida Bar International Law Section (ILS) supported five Florida law school teams that made it to the finals of this year’s Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, held every March in Vienna, Austria.

The ILS sponsored a pre-Vis Moot dress rehearsal in Miami for teams from Florida International University, University of Miami, University of Florida, Stetson University and Nova Southeastern University, and gave each of the teams a $2,500 stipend to defray their travel costs.

After the last oral arguments were scored in Vienna, three of the ILS-supported teams–UF, UM, and Stetson—came away with significant wins: UF advanced to the round of 64, UM to the final 16, and Stetson to the elite 8.

The Vis Moot is one of the centerpieces of the international arbitration community. This year it drew together more than 1,800 students from 295 law schools from 67 countries, as well as practitioners, academics and arbitrators, for an intense, six-day exercise in oral advocacy. Every year, the competition focuses on a problem drawn from the United Nations Convention on Contracts in the International Sale of Goods.

This year, 49 of the teams in the competition were from the U.S., including one from each of the U.S.’s top-10 ranked law schools.

After four days of preliminary rounds, UF’s Levin College of Law team fought its way to the round of 64 for only the fourth time since its VIS Moot program started 20 years ago.

UM advanced to the single-elimination round of 64 for the second time in its history. It then made it to the final 16 after winning unanimous decisions against formidable opponents from the University of Munster (German) and Queens University (Canada), before falling in a split decision to Columbia University. UM concluded the competition with the third best performance among 49 U.S. schools. In addition, the team won an honorable mention for one of its briefs in the written component of the competition.

On its way to the elite 8, the Vis Moot team from Stetson University competed successfully against the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Germany, Hungary, India, the Netherlands, and the U.S. Only one other U.S. team made it to the final 8, along with Stetson: Columbia University. Stetson was defeated in that round by Humboldt University of Berlin. No U.S. teams made it to the final 4, and the City University of Hong Kong took first place.

The ILS is pleased and proud to congratulate the members of the Stetson team: Paul Crochet, Meagan Foley, Mike Rothfeldt, Lisa Tanaka, and Alexander Zesch and coaches Professors Stephanie Vaughan and Joe Morrissey. (Crochet, Foley and Zesch were recognized as some of the best individual oralists in the competition.)
ILS also congratulates the team members from UM: Wamiq Chowdhury, who’s aiming for an LL.M in International Arbitration and won an honorable mention as best oralist in the competition; Bianca Olivadoti, 2L; Carlos E. Nuñez, 3L; Gabriela Pirana, 2L; and Eftihios Andronis, 2L. It also wishes to congratulate the team’s two principal coaches, John H. Rooney and Paula Arias.
The ILS also wishes to congratulate UF team members Dane Ullian (2L), who placed second in the Florida state competition in February, and received an honorable mention in Vienna; as well as members Alexis Leventhal (3L), who served as captain; Julie deBruin (2L); Phil Kegler (3L) and coaches Professors George Dawson and Jeffrey Harrison and adjunct coach Eduardo Palmer (class of ’85).