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Wayne Law's Jessup moot court team finishes as quarter-finalist

March 14, 2014

A Wayne State University Law School five-member team finished a regional tournament of the world’s largest international moot court competition as a quarter-finalist.

The team was one of 21 that competed in the Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court competition from Feb. 20 through 23 in Chicago. Wayne Law’s team was ranked second when it advanced with the top eight teams to the quarter-final rounds, where the team was defeated by Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Frank Moran of Rochester Hills, an oralist and the only second-year student on Wayne Law’s team, earned individual recognition as second-place oralist in the regional contest of about 70 competitors.

The team’s co-chancellors are third-year students Klaudia Nikolli of Windsor, Ontario, researcher and oralist, and Bonsitu Kitaba of Mississauga, Ontario, also a researcher and oralist. Third-year students John Gaviglio of Ferndale, researcher and oralist, and Rachael Kohl of Novi, editor, make up the rest of the Wayne Law Jessup team this year. Professor Gregory Fox of Ann Arbor, director of Wayne Law’s Program for International Legal Studies, is the team’s faculty advisor. Rachel Hom of Detroit, a Wayne Law program coordinator and 2013 alumna who was the chancellor of last year’s team, served as the travel coach.

“I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a great learning experience,” Nikolli said. “Jessup enhanced my research, writing and oralist skills and allowed me to understand international law at a deeper level. Although the competition was difficult, I am so proud of the Wayne Law Jessup team and how far we have come.”

Wayne Law has a long tradition of doing well in the Jessup competition, where students represent countries in a fictional case before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations. Teams from more than 550 law schools in more than 80 nations compete each year. The contest is in its 55th year.

Teams prepare oral and written pleadings, arguing both sides of the fictional case, and work hard for many months before the contest, learning substantive international law and research methods in the process.

“The team worked incredibly hard to master a very complex area of international law,” Fox said. “I'm very proud of their showing at the regional tournament. Winning all four preliminary rounds and finishing second in the region going into the elimination rounds is in the tradition of outstanding Wayne performance in the Jessup.”

Photo caption:

Travel Coach Rachel Hom, left, stands with Wayne State University Law School Jessup team members Frank Moran, John Gaviglio, Bonsitu Kitaba, Klaudia Nikolli and Rachael Kohl.