Philip C. Jessup Memories

I first heard of Jessup in the fall of 2001. I was a college student in Hawai’i and the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics caused the Pacific Regional to be moved to Hawai’i, where I was attending college. I was interested in going to law school and Jessup seemed like a good way to get involved and meet law students and practicing lawyers. After all, Jessup is a Moot Court Competition. But unlike the hundreds of competitions across the country every year, Jessup is the most prestigious. The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is the largest, best well known, best written, and most difficult Moot Court Competition in the world, and it has taken up much of my time since that winter of 2001.

As a college student, I naturally didn’t compete in Jessup. I merely helped out and watched. But it looked fun, as well as a lot of hard work. The University of Hawai’i won the competition for the Pacific Regional that year, 2002, not because they were the home team but because they were clearly the best team. They went on to the International Rounds in D.C. and did well, I remember. When applying to law school, I hyped up my experience as a Bailiff Coordinator for Jessup and the people that I met in my personal statement. I even had a line like, “. . . their confidence in the law as a vehicle for change moved me and convinced me that is what I wanted to do.” or some other facsimile of B.S. similar to that. Long story short, I got into law school.   

As a 2L I saw an email for tryouts to get on the Jessup team. Being interested in public international law, I immediately decided that I was going to do all that I could to be on my law school’s team. I spent the next two weeks on my brief and preparing for my oral argument. I made the team, although I didn’t perform as well as I wanted to in orals. It was my try-out brief, research and experience with International Law and Jessup that helped me get on the team.

I was asked to coach during my last year of law school. Our team did excellent thanks to some talented and hard working oralists. We won Second Best Brief in the difficult Atlantic Regional and eventually lost to the team that won the World Championships (CLS). I know for a fact that this year the team is out for revenge.

Now as an attorney, I am still involved through Friends of Jessup. I will be judging the teams I helped compete against in New York in a few weeks at Shearman & Sterling, which has hosted the Atlantic Regional the past several years. Jessup definitely was a highlight of my three years of law school because we spent so much time with the team for those four months. But even now, with law school behind me, I can see Jessup being a part of my life for years to come.  


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