School of Law’s Jessup moot court team among best in the world

A team of law students comprising (from left) Katlyn Kraus, Tyler Talbert, Cameron MacLeod and Hyder Syed traveled to Washington, D.C., for the international rounds.

A team of law students from Case Western Reserve University earned recognition as among the best at the 2012 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.

Altogether, 600 teams from around the world competed in national rounds, with 140 (including Case Western Reserve) advancing to the international rounds in Washington, D.C., the last week in March. Case Western Reserve reached the international rounds for the sixth time in the past eight years by winning all seven matches and defeating Duke University in the finals at the U.S. Midwest Regional Competition in Chicago during February.

At the international rounds, teams argue four times, and then the top 32 teams move to single elimination rounds. Case Western Reserve’s team went 4-0 and was ranked 10th in the world based on a combination of the team’s record and high speaker points. The Case Western Reserve team also received an Alona E. Evans Award for one of the top 10 sets of applicant and respondent briefs in the world (Case Western Reserve’s were ninth best).

Although it was the higher seed, Case Western Reserve lost in the first elimination round to the Venezuela national champion, Universidad Monteávila. The Venezuelan national champion has historically been one of the best teams in the competition. Ultimately, a team of law students from Moscow State University beat Columbia University of the United States, winner of the U.S. East Region, for the 2012 world championship.

Case Western Reserve’s team consisted of third-year law student Cameron MacLeod and second-year law students Tyler Talbert, Katlyn Kraus and Hyder Syed. They were coached by Conor McLaughlin, a 2007 Case Western Reserve law graduate and now an attorney at the Thompson Hine law firm, and by Case Western Reserve Professor Michael Scharf, director of the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center.

“With the experience they’ve gained, I have no doubt that these students will go on to be important players in the field of international law,” Scharf said.

Case Western Reserve’s team won the Jessup World Championship in 2008, and in 2011 won the Richard Baxter Award for the Best Applicant Brief in the world. “This year’s Jessup team’s performance has once again put our law school on the world map,” Scharf said. “It’s definitely a factor in our program’s high ranking.”

Based on a survey of U.S. professors who teach international law, U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Case Western Reserve as having the 11th best international law program in the United States.

This year’s Jessup problem involved humanitarian intervention, protection of cultural property during war, and foreign sovereign immunity for war crimes. Now in its 53rd year, the Jessup competition is a simulation of a dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations. Teams prepare oral and written pleadings, arguing both the applicant and respondent positions of the case. The Chicago-based International Law Students Association organizes the competition.