Recent Moot Court Accomplishments
Center for International Legal Education Students Travel to the Middle East to Train Students for Annual Vis Moot Competition
July 11, 2013
When Pitt Law 3L Brian Fraile traveled to Turkey in October to train members of the Baghdad Vis Moot team, he met Ali Hayder, a young aspiring lawyer with a shared interest in computer programming and sports. However, unlike Fraile, Hayder has been unable to play sports regularly because he has spent most of his youth confined indoors in war-torn Iraq. The annual William C. Vis International Arbitration Moot competition in Vienna is an opportunity for students like Hayder to travel, learn and compete in the world’s largest arbitration moot competition. It’s also an opportunity for Pitt Law students like Fraile to become better competitors by training and preparing international students in arbitration law.
Fraile said it was remarkable how dedicated and driven the students from the Middle Eastern teams were.
“In Istanbul we had to beg the Iraqi students to put down their work and go sightseeing with us, despite the fact that this was the first time many of them had ever had the opportunity to leave Baghdad,” he said.
For the last seven years Professor Ronald Brand, through the Center for International Legal Education (CILE), has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) to use the Vis Moot competition as a platform for developing curriculum in international commercial law and arbitration at various Middle Eastern law schools.
The annual Vis Moot competition in Vienna, which was held in March this past year, is analogous to a World Cup for future arbitration lawyers. The competition brings together students from nearly 300 schools and over 60 countries to Austria to compete in simulated commercial arbitration cases in front of a prestigious panel of arbitrators. Relationships are built and sustained; different cultures cross to form lasting relationships in the academic and legal world. It’s a competition that’s as much about legal rigor as it is about cultural exchange.
Fraile said the work started in October when the Vis Moot problem was officially released. What followed were weeks of traveling to Turkey to personally train the Baghdad team, then months of emails and video chats providing more training on key international arbitration concepts such as the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG), research methods and feedback with the drafting of lengthy legal memoranda.
“Providing such in-depth support to students we had never met and were eight time zones away presented some obvious logistical problems,” Fraile said. “The language barrier was never an issue because of the students’ incredible English skills. The students were understanding of the difficulties and were always willing to ask questions when they needed guidance.”
Ronald Brand talks to students at the Middle East Vis Pre-Moot in Abu Dhabi.
This past February, the teams from seven Middle Eastern law schools participated in the third annual Willem C. Vis Middle East International Commercial Arbitration Pre-Moot in Abu Dhabi, UAE in anticipation for Vienna. These schools included the University of Baghdad (Iraq), the University of Bahrain, Dar Al Hekma School of Law & Diplomacy (Saudi Arabia), the Faculty of Legal, Political and Social Sciences of Tunis, the University of Jordan, Sultan Qaboos University (Oman), and United Arab Emirates University. Fraile, along with Professor Brand and 3L students Amelia Brett and Eryn Correa provided oral argument training and helped administer the pre-moot competition.
Fraile said the combination of his own academics, all the traveling, training and eventual competitions has overall been an extremely enriching experience.
“The extensive level of research necessary for such an endeavor certainly added the stresses of a maximum course load,” Fraile said. “But my experiences through three unforgettable trips were more than enough to make those late nights in Barco [Law Building] worthwhile.”
January 1, 2013
2011 - 2012
International Law Moots
The Pitt Law team at the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition, in Vienna, Austria, comprised of Amelia Brett '13, Eryn Correa '13, Brian Fraile '13, and Andrew Vogeler ‘12, made the first round of the finals, against a field of over 270 other schools, for the fourth year in a row. This year's team was coached by Professors Ron Brand and Harry Flechtner.
The Pitt Law team for the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, comprised of Megan Crouch '13, Torrey Hullum ‘12, Charles Isaacs '13, Max Parmelee ‘12, and Kelsey Romeo-Stuppy ‘12, performed well at the Mid-Atlantic Regional rounds, held in Washingtion, D.C., against the teams that eventually went on to represent the Mid-Atlantic Region at the International Rounds. The Niagara team was coached by Assistant Director of the Center for International Legal Education, Wes Rist.
The Pitt Law team for the Niagara International Law Moot Court Competition, comprised of Patrick Carew '13, Gregory Graham '13, Alicia Roberts '13, and Matthew Smith '13, placed first coming out of the preliminary rounds into the quarter-finals, only to lose by a single point to the team that eventually went all the way to the final round. Additionally, the team’s applicant memorial, authored by Carew and Smith, won 2nd best written memorial and the team’s respondent oralists, Graham and Roberts, took first and second place Best Oralist awards, respectively, and the Best Respondent Team Argument award. The Niagara team was coached by Assistant Director of the Center for International Legal Education, Wes Rist.
In November 2011, Pitt Law sent students to compete at Southern Illinois School of Law for the annual National Health Law Moot Court Competition for the seventeenth year in a row. Sam Derrick, '13 , and Robert Lo, '13, finished with a prize-winning second-place brief; Mike Ovens, '13, and Phillip Kirchner, '12, finished with the third best brief overall. The Second Place finish carried a $500 award with it. The issues involved informed consent for experimental drug trials in the international arena, and the scope of the Alien Tort Statute as it pertains to corporate liability. The students were coached by Clinical Professor of Law, Stella Smetanka.
Pitt Law sent two teams to the Allegheny County Academy of Trial Lawyers competition in February 2012. Eighteen law schools participated and both Pitt Law teams represented the plaintiff in a personal injury case. There were only two rounds, with the team for the plaintiff and team for the defense with the highest scores advancing to the final round. The Pitt "Gold" team, consisting of Erin Bock, '12, and Gina Tuscano, '13, won its trial against Penn State and finished second in total scoring to eventual competition winner, Catholic University. The "Blue" team, made up of Eric Salinger, '13, and Brandon Moore, '12, defeated Case Western in its trial. The teams were coached by adjunct professors Jennifer Satler and Richard Levine.
Pitt Law sent one team to the AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition Regional Tournament in March 2012. The team members were Matt Zwick, '12, Erica Converse, '13, Maureen Cosgrove, '13 and Brian Malloy, '13. The team showed marked improvement over 2011. Of the 16 teams participating Pitt had the 5th highest score. Unfortunately only the top four teams advanced. The team was coached by Adjunct Professor David Rosenberg of Weber, Gallagher, Simpson, Stapleton, Fires and Newby LLP.
Pitt Law Cardozo/BMI Copyright Moot Court team success
On behalf of the IP/Tech Law Certificate program, congratulations to Pitt Law 3Ls Christian Ehret and Victoria Summerfield for their outstanding performance in the national 2011 Cardozo/BMI Entertainment and Communications Law Moot Court Competition, held March 10-13, 2011 in New York City. For the second year in a row, Victoria and Christian were among the final eight teams in the competition, in which a total of 28 U.S. law schools participated. Rick Rinaldo of Williams Coulson coached Pitt’s Cardozo competition team for his 26th year. Dave Oberdick of Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP served as assistant coach. In a practice moot in Pittsburgh, Christian and Victoria had the rare opportunity to argue before Judge Thomas Hardiman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Please join me in congratulating Christian and Victoria on their superb representation of Pitt Law.
For the first time Pitt Law competed in the American Association for Justice’s Student Trial Advocacy Competition (STAC), sending two teams to the regional round here in Pittsburgh. On the Plaintiff Team were Branden Moore, ’12, and Jeffrey Murray, ’12; on the Defendant Team were Matthew Zwick, ’12, and Katie Angliss, ’11. David Rosenberg of Weber, Gallagher, Simpson, Stapleton, Fires & Newby; Richard Levine of Ainsman, Levine & Drexler, LLC; and Paul Grater assisted Jennifer Satler, the school’s adjunct mock trial coach, in coaching the teams.
For the second straight year Pitt Law sent two teams to the Philadelphia regional round of the prestigious Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial Competition. Team One included Dana Morrison, ’12, Greg Wilson, ’11, and Andrew Hornung, ’12. Team Two included Johanna Nestor, ’12, Peter Agresti, ’11, and Peter Caravello, ‘11. Jennifer Satler, the school’s adjunct mock trial coach, and Virginia Scott of Ainsman, Levine & Drexler, LLC, coached both teams.
Kenneth Hager and Christina DeMarco, ’12, represented Pitt Law in the annual Allegheny Academy of Trial Lawyers Mock Trial Competition. Jennifer Satler, the school’s adjunct mock trial coach, coached the team.
Pitt Law received the award for best overall brief among 77 schools competing in the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition at Pace Law School in White Plains, New York. Writing the award winning brief and competing in oral arguments were Lauren Burge, ’11, Megan Collelo, ‘11, and Marielise Fraioli, ‘12. Marco Attisano, ’13, served as team administrator. Oday Salim, staff attorney in the school’s Environmental Law Clinic, coached the team.
The law school’s Appellate Moot Court Competition Final took place January 27, 2011. Elizabeth Youngkin, ’11, and Tara Tighe, ’12 competed before The Hon. Michael Fisher, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; The Hon. Lisa Pupo Lenihan, Magistrate Judge, United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania; and The Hon. Judith Ference Olson, Superior Court of Pennsylvania. The judges awarded top oral advocate honors to Elizabeth. The Best Brief Award for the highest scoring brief from all participants went to Lilianne Snyder, ’12.
In November, Arianne Gallagher, '11, and David Weber, '11, represented Pitt Law in the Baltimore regional round of the National Moot Court Competition. A third team member, Lacee Ecker, '12, assisted on the brief. The team was coached by adjunct professor Erin Morey.
The members of the 2010 team representing Pitt Law in the Willem Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (McKean Evans, '10; Richard Kyle, '11; Kristine Long, '11; and Amelia Mathias, '11) returned in early April from the oral argument stage of the competition in Vienna, where the team had a very successful moot. Based on a stellar performance in its four preliminary round arguments, the team made the advance rounds of the competition, which requires finishing in approximately the top 25% of the 251 teams (representing over 60 countries) that participated. This year's team was coached by Professor Ron Brand and Professor Harry Flechtner.
Victoria Summerfield, ’11, and Christian Ehret, ’11, represented Pitt Law at the 2010 Cardozo/BMI Entertainment and Communications Law Moot Court Competition, in New York City. Victoria and Christian earned the 4th-highest scores in the preliminary rounds among the 28 participating law schools and won their octofinal round before being defeated in the quarterfinals. Pittsburgh attorneys Rick Rinaldo and David Oberdick coached the team.
Pitt Law sent two teams to the Philadelphia regional round of the prestigious Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial Competition. On one team were John Rooney, ’10, Aaron McKendry, ’10, and Matt Wood, ‘11. On the other team were David Knox, ’11, Jeff Simons, ’11, and Peter Caravello, ‘11. This was the school’s first visit to the TYLA Competition. Jennifer Satler, the school’s adjunct mock trial coach, coached both teams.
David Weber, ‘11, took top honors in the intramural Appellate Moot Court Competition (both in oral argument and brief writing), and Arianne Gallagher, ‘11, finished in a very close second place. Both students performed extremely well before a distinguished panel of judges—The Hon. Michael Fisher, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; The Hon. Nora Barry Fischer, United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania; and The Hon. Max Baer, Justice, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania—who asked some tough questions. As the top two finishers, David and Arianne qualify to serve on the school's team in the interscholastic National Moot Court Competition in 2010-2011. Christine Fung, ‘11, was runner-up in brief writing.
Katie Angliss, ’11, Arun Gupta, ’11, and Peter Agresti, ’11, represented Pitt Law in the annual Allegheny Academy of Trial Lawyers Mock Trial Competition. Jennifer Satler, the school’s adjunct mock trial coach, coached the team.
Allie Kant ’11, Morgan Kronk, ’11 Steven Salas, ’11 and Marko Zivanov, ’10 represented Pitt Law at the regional rounds of the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. The team was coached by Wes Rist, Assistant Director of the Center for International Legal Education, and Matthias Grabmair, Visiting Professor.
Brooke Pezzuolo, ’10, Ashley Sosso, ’11, and Stephanie Gladish, ’10, represented Pitt Law in the Mardi Gras Invitational Sports Law Competition at Tulane Law School in New Orleans. Adjunct Professor Larry Silverman coached the team in this appellate competition.
The Pitt Law team of Nikolina Smith, ’11, Lauren Roso, ’10, and Aidee Reyes, ’10, argued on behalf of three different parties (an e-recycling corporation, EPA, and a fair trade nonprofit group) in three preliminary rounds of the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, at Pace Law School, Westchester County, New York. Professor Emily Collins coached the team.
The Pitt Law team of Joy Sadaly, ’11, and Vinnie Lichvar, ’10, placed second in the National Health Law Moot Court Competition, which took place in November at Southern Illinois University Law School, Carbondale, Illiniois. In addition, Joy was named Best Oralist for the entire competition. Professors Stella Smetanka and Martha Mannix coached the team.
Josh Camson, ’11, Elizabeth Ressler, ’10, Andrew Gilmore, ’11, and P.J. Best finished in third place in the New York regional round of the ABA’s Labor and Employment Trial Advocacy Competition. Adjunct Professor John Conti served as coach for the team.
David Steinbrink, ‘10, and Trevor Bannister, ’10, represented Pitt Law in the Baltimore regional round of the National Moot Court Competition. A third team member, Mary Binker, ‘11, assisted with the brief.
John Rooney, ‘10, Peter Caravello, ’11, Matt Wood, ‘11 and Brook Lane, ‘10, were the four finalists in the intramural Murray S. Love Mock Trial Competition, trying the case before The Hon. Joy Flowers Conti, United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Judge Conti awarded top-performing honors to John and Peter, both of whose names will be engraved on the Murray Love plaque in the foyer of the courtroom. John and Peter will also receive the Murray S. Love Award.