Every year, thousands of law students are joined by hundreds of professional arbitrators and law professors in Vienna, Austria, for the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. After months of research, writing memorandums and oral advocacy focused on the rules of international commercial arbitration and the U.N. Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG), 10 select Hofstra Law students pleaded in hearings from April 12-17 against law students from India, Poland, Serbia and Turkey.
The Vis Arbitral Moot was first organized 21 years ago as a way to foster the study of international law and arbitration for the resolution of international business disputes. Through the years, it has evolved into one of the most prestigious and truly global moot competitions for law students. Not only do students get to compete against the best law schools from around the world, but they also get a chance to plead in front of world-renowned scholars in the field of international arbitration.
“The Vis Arbitral Moot is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where you get to meet like-minded and talented individuals from around the world,” said Christopher Gioia 3L. “It’s the most realistic lawyer-like experience that I’ve had to date.”
Over the weeklong competition, students were invited to attend an opening ceremony held at the 100-year-old Wiener Konzerthaus, enjoyed traditional Viennese goulash after a two-hour walking tour around the historic city of Vienna, and joined fellow students and arbitrators for drinks each night after the pleadings.
“There is more to the competition than drafting and crafting the best arguments,” said Charlie Liu 2L. “What made the Vis Arbitral Moot a truly one-of-a-kind experience was the friendships we made with other students and professionals in a world-class city.”
The Hofstra Law team, known as the International Moot Arbitration Team (IMAT), was led by student coach Stephen Atwell 3L and included Olatunji Ajayi 3L, Alyssa Feliciano 2L, Benjamin Gerson 2L, Gioia, Steven Lee 2L, Liu, Patricia Yvette Medina J.D./M.B.A., Kiran Raghubeer 3L and Jamie Sharpe 2L.
Professor Julian Ku served as the faculty advisor. The team was also advised by John Roesser, Louis Russo ’07 and Bethany Simmons ’12. The team received assistance from Matthew Allen ’11, Associate Dean Ronald J. Colombo, Christina Holzer 3L, Katrina Ozols 3L, Seema Phekoo ’13, Seth Presser ’07 and Jason Tenenbaum ’12.
IMAT requires a yearlong commitment. Students receive 3 course credits over two semesters for their work. Professor Ku and IMAT will begin accepting applications for the 2015 Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot competition in August 2014.