BUFFALO, N.Y. — By winning the Midwest Super Regional
Round of the Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court
Competition, the University at Buffalo Law School has advanced to
the International Round of the renowned global competition, to be
held April 6-12 in Washington, D.C.
The regional competition was held Feb. 20-23 at The John
Marshall Law School in Chicago. Undefeated champions, the UB Law
team finished ahead of 20 other law schools, winning every one of
the preliminary and run-off rounds. One team member, John
Land (3L), also won “Best Oralist” in the Chicago
competition’s Final Round.
The Jessup competition is focused on international appellate
advocacy in front of the International Court of Justice, and is the
world’s largest moot court contest. While hundreds of schools
from around the world compete each year, only 12 law schools from
the United States — the top two teams from each domestic
Super Regional Round — advance to the International Round.
There they will battle for the Jessup World Cup against
approximately 120 law schools from around the globe.
“The Jessup Cup is among the most prestigious and
competitive moot courts in the world,” says UB Law Professor
George Kannar, who oversees the school’s moot court programs.
“It says something significant about our hopes to be a global
law school — and to make our people ‘practice
ready’ — that our students were such runaway winners in
Chicago. They are well-positioned to make another strong showing in
This year’s Jessup problem concerns the conflict
between maritime development and environmental conservation,
criminal jurisdiction and maritime salvage rights for underwater
The other members of the 2013-14 UB Law School Jessup team are
Andrew Dean (3L), Stephanie Forman (2L), Jessica Noto (3L) and
Henry Zomerfeld (3L). Noto and Zomerfeld served as advocates
on behalf of the applicant, while Dean and Land advocated on behalf
of the respondent. Forman served as “of counsel” to
both teams, assisting in each oral argument round. All five team
members researched and drafted the memorials (briefs) for the
Alumni Kevin Espinosa (’09), vice president and counsel at
M&T Bank, and Michael Hecker (’09), an associate in the
Environment and Energy Practice Group of Hodgson Russ LLP, serve as
the team’s coaches. Espinosa and Hecker also are adjunct
professors at the Law School, teaching a skills-oriented course in
“International Legal Advocacy.”
The UB Law School team dominated the Midwest Super Regional
Round. Winning all four of its preliminary round matches —
against DePaul University College of Law, University of Wisconsin
Law School, Saint Louis University School of Law and Syracuse
University College of Law — it advanced to the quarterfinals
as the competition’s top seed. Of the 81 individuals who
argued in the preliminary rounds, UB law students won two of the 10
available “best oralist” awards, with Dean placing
sixth and Zomerfeld ninth. UB also won “Second Overall”
for its written submissions.
Beginning with the quarterfinal round, Dean and Land represented
the respondent in each subsequent encounter. The team defeated Case
Western Reserve University School of Law in the quarterfinals,
University of Chicago Law School in the semifinals and Loyola
University of Chicago Law School in the final round to cap its
weekend with a perfect 7-0 record.
To be chosen to represent the Law School in the Jessup
competition, UB students must take part in an intramural selection
process in the spring prior to the competition, submitting a
writing sample and delivering a mock oral argument.
This year’s Jessup team prepared with the assistance of
faculty members, alumni and members of previous UB Jessup Cup
teams, who assisted in a variety of ways, including by serving as
practice round judges.