April 13, 2011
Six second- and third-year Tulane University Law School students are on their way to Vienna, Austria, this week to compete in the annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. This year’s team members are Nicholas Cenac ’12, Morgan Levy ’12, Ethan Minshull ’11, and Joel Talley ’12. Student coaches for the team are Mr. Minshull, Meghan Shumaker ’11, and Ashvi Sivapalan ’11. This year’s faculty advisors, who are not making the trip to Vienna, are Professors Robert Force and Martin Davies.
“The Vis Moot has been far and away my most enjoyable law school experience,” team member Nick Cenac said prior to the trip’s departure. “I came to law school to learn how to be a litigator, but find myself eager to pursue a career in international commercial arbitration as a result of this experience. I cannot recommend the competition highly enough and feel honored and humbled to have been selected to join the team and work with such remarkable people. Our coaches and advisors have given us such strong support and encouragement, and I cannot express how grateful I am to have had this opportunity.”
The objective of the Moot is to foster study in the areas of international commercial and arbitration laws and to encourage the resolution of business disputes by arbitration. The problem for the Moot is always based on an international sales transaction, subject to the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, and also involves procedural issues of arbitration. The Moot requires submission of written memoranda prior to oral argument.
This year’s problem concerns frozen squid sold for use as long-line fishing bait. After a dispute arose, one party invoked the right to arbitration contained in the dispute settlement clause adopted by the parties. The contest asks team to prepare arguments on the procedure and substance of the dispute and to assume the roles of counsel for both sides of the dispute in alternating arbitration rounds.