Moot Court wins its fifth regional title


3L Jonathan Patchen was one of the members of the winning moot court team.

Harvard Law School trounced the competition at the annual Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition held over the weekend at Boston University. The HLS team competed against five other law schools to emerge as a regional winner for the fifth year in a row. The five-member assembly of both law students and an LL.M. captured not only the regional title but also best oralist and third place for best memorial, or legal brief. Members have another month to continue their preparation before traveling to Washington, D.C. for the international competition.

During the regional competition, law school teams argued against each other before a three-judge panel meant to resemble the International Court of Justice. Each side was given 45 minutes to argue, with two oralists from each team presenting their case.

“The issues revolved around questions of wartime rapes, slavery and corruption charges between two fictitious nations,” said Hugo Torres, the 1L member of the team who is also a RECORD reporter. “These are particularly relevant issues in light of events in both Yugoslavia and Rwanda.”

Additional members included 3L captain Natalie Reid, 3L Jonathan Patchen, 2L Nathaniel Stankard and L.L.M. Ewan Smith.

The HLS team stole the day on Saturday when it successfully argued against students from New England School of Law, Southern New England School of Law, Boston College and Syracuse. HLS took on Boston College again on Sunday before facing off against Cornell in the final round.

“The other team [Cornell] was quite smooth and made the round very close,” said Patchen, who went on to win best oralist for the entire competition. “I was quite pleased to receive best oralist. I guess all of the hours in oral argument practice paid off. At the very least, it allowed us to choose the side we wanted for semi-finals and call the coin flip for the final [round].”

Reid sang the praises of her team members, saying that each had done an amazing job preparing and competing in the competition, even though “none of [them] had ever competed in this particular competition.”

“Though the team at the outset had varying levels of familiarity with the substantive law,” Reid said, “by the time of the competition, they had a mastery of the material that I have rarely seen even at the international rounds of the Jessup competition.” This year marks Reid’s third and final year as a member of the team.

Other team members were equally as pleased with Reid as their captain. “We won because of Natalie, plain and simple,” Stankard said. “She’s the force that made everything happen.”

Students were treated to a banquet on Saturday, which allowed the participants to mingle with their colleagues and congratulate each other on their arguments.

The HLS team will compete in Washington, D.C. the week after spring break and, according to Reid, the event will coincide with the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law. The preparation for the international competition will be intense, though Smith said he hoped to have completed chapters three through seven of Ian Brownlie’s Basic Documents in International Law before he traveled to D.C.

“I’m really looking forward to traveling to D.C. and competing against schools from around the world,” said Torres. “We did great at regionals and we will do great at the international level.”

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