BY CLINTON DICK
Harvard Law School teams were busy over spring break competing across the country. While an all-female HLS team won the 14th annual National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition in Chicago [see related article], another more gender-balanced group was in Washington, D.C. competing at the Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition.
“The competition was a lot tougher this time around,” says team member 1L Erica Fung, “It was a much higher level of competition, and the teams were really well prepared.”
The four-member team, which also included 2L Hugo Torres, 2L Naomi Loewith, and 3L Nathaniel Stankard, defeated the University of Georgia in the run-off round and Columbia University in the octafinal round, emerging as the only U.S. team left in the quarterfinal round. Despite the “dazzling” performance of Fung during that round, according to Stankard, in which she “spent most of her argument debating with the author of one of the central articles on this year’s topic,” the team lost to the National University of Singapore.
Still, despite their disappointing loss, the team felt upbeat about their performances. “Naomi and Hugo were on fire in the elimination rounds,” says Stankard. “They handled some extraordinarily obscure questions as easily as if the judges were asking them where they had lunch.”
Says Torres, “In one of the advanced rounds, I argued before a panel of judges that included a prosecutor from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Reciting ICTY cases in front of him resulted in some serious questioning.”
“Nathaniel was great as always,” Fung says, adding, “He was the ‘coach’ for the team, and would make sure that each of us were comfortable with our arguments first before worrying about his own. He was our go-to guy for everything.”
“It was a pleasure meeting law students from across the world, particularly those from countries in which it is not easy to be a lawyer,” says Loewith. “Many of the competitors will go on to practice law in countries where their governments do not support the rule of law, where their work may make them unpopular or put them in danger.”
While in D.C., Fung says the group “saw the White House, visited war memorials and museums,” but “best of all, we to try out a couple of great restaurants in D.C.” Courtesy of Harvard Law School, of course.