The University of Wyoming College of Law team competed in the regional round the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition February 16-19, 2017. The Rocky Mountain Regional was hosted by the University of Denver Sturm School of Law, and was one of the six regional rounds hosted in the United States.
The team comprised entirely of Wyoming students, swept the competition placing first as well as taking home additional honors.
Students Ian Smith (Jackson, Wyo.), Allison Connell (Sheridan, Wyo.), Kristina Mireles (Newcastle, Wyo.), Brandon Rosty (Casper, Wyo.) and David Demic (Sheridan, Wyo.), used their knowledge of water law, natural resources, and international law to dominate the competition with a perfect 7-0 record.
The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is the world’s largest moot court competition, with participants from over 550 law schools in more than 87 countries. The Competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations. Each team prepares both oral and written pleadings (memorials).
The team is scored as a unit, with recognition and scoring for individual written and oral efforts as well.
This year’s issue was framed around two problems: 1) in a time of drought, may one state tap into a shared underground aquifer even if it deprives another state of water, and 2) must cultural artifacts taken from state A to state B by an oppressed minority of state A be returned?
Individual accolades included Allison Connell placing 7th, Brandon Rosty placing 3rd, and Kristina Mireles placing 2nd in the oral portion of the competition. Third-year law student David Demic won top individual oralist with two perfect scores.
Demic has competed in the Jessup Competition all three years of his law school career, winning 9th best oralist as a 1L, and 6th best oralist last year.
“One of the reasons that I came to UW was because of the strong international program,” he says. “The tutelage I have received from Professors Suzie Pritchett, Jason Robison and Noah Novogrodsky has provided me with the skills that I have now and I would not have been able to succeed without their guidance.”
Demic was able to take the experience from the last two years and improve to help lead his team to victory.
“It felt really good to practice and apply everything we have learned at the College of Law and come back with vengeance in the competition,” says Demic.
In the written portion, the team Memorials Brief placed 1st helping the group claim an unprecedented clean-sweep. The College of Law has previously taken home the honor of Best Memorial in 2014.
The team went up against some big schools in the nation, including NYU School of Law, The University of Kansas School of Law, and the SJ Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah.
According to the International Law Student Association organizers, it is the first time in living memory that the top three oralists came from a single school. It is also the first time ever that the University of Wyoming College of law has won first place at this prestigious international law competition.
The team will now advance to the White & Case International Rounds in Washington D.C. where they will go head to head with the other top teams from around the world. The weeklong event, will take place April 9-15, 2017, and will culminate with the Jessup Cup World Championship Round.
“We are extremely proud of this team of students from Wyoming,” says the team’s Faculty Advisor Professor Noah Novogrodsky. “They were more prepared than any other team there and it showed.”