Competing for the first time in the Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot Court, Catholic University law school students Andrea Cole Lawson (3L), and Jose M. Vega (2L), finished fourth out of 42 teams (from 25 countries) and second out of six teams from the United States in the general phase of the competition.
The two-member team was knocked out in the first elimination round of the prestigious international moot court competition, which was held at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, from March 12 to 16, 2012.
“We remain very proud of our effort and the arc of our improbable journey—from complete neophytes to top four,” said Vega. “This has been one of the most formative experiences of our careers thus far, and one from which we will benefit for years to come.”
The Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot Court is an international student competition focusing on investment protection. The students present their arguments orally before arbitration tribunals composed of investment treaty specialists.
The format is challenging. Teams are not told until an hour before a match which side they are to represent and which three of 11 specified issues they are to argue. They have to master both sides of a complex case and, on short notice, decide how to present the case without guidance from or consultation with anyone.
With no accompanying coach, Lawson and Vega were entirely on their own in a difficult international competition. Their performance in the general phase surpassed that of such American competitors as Georgetown, American, UVA, and Miami.
“In these especially challenging circumstances, they achieved the best ranking (in absolute and percentile terms) of any team CUA law school has sent to an international arbitration competition,” noted Professor Harris Weinstein, who advised and mentored the team.
The competition centers around a case-study dispute arising out of international investment protection law and provisions of a Bilateral Investment Treaty.