Law students win Jessup Super-Regional crown, advance to International Rounds

A team of five students from Washington University School of Law recently traveled to Chicago where they competed in and won the Midwest Super-Regional of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.

Twenty-four teams from throughout the Midwest participated in the Super-Regional. In the preliminary rounds, Washington University faced Chicago-Kent, St. Louis University, Michigan State and Northwestern. In the quarterfinals, the team defeated Loyola University of Chicago, and in the semifinals, the team beat Wayne State. In the final round, Washington University defeated DePaul University.

Jessica Cusick, second-year law student, won the award for best individual oralist, and Ashley Walker, third-year law student, placed eighth out of nearly 100 individual competitors.

The Jessup Competition is the world’s largest competition of any kind for law students, with over 600 schools from about 100 countries competing each year. The Midwest Super-Regional is one of six Super-Regionals in the United States, the first stage of the Competition. Both winners from each Super-Regional advance directly to the final stage. The students’ win in Chicago means that they rank among the top six U.S. teams competing, out of more than 140 teams competing in the U.S.

This year’s Jessup competition was based upon a hypothetical dispute involving detention, extraordinary rendition, and treatment of suspected terrorists.

Washington University’s team will now advance to the Shearman & Sterling International Rounds of the Jessup Competition in Washington, DC. The International Rounds are the championship stage of the competition, and will pit the law school team against about 100 regional and national champions from around the world.

This marks the second consecutive year that Washington University has advanced to the International Rounds. The school has advanced to the International Rounds six of the last ten years; it and Harvard Law School are the only two schools in the United States to share this distinction. Last year, the school won its Regional Competition and placed third in the world at the International Rounds, winning the Alona M. Evans Award for best written submissions in the world.

The University’s Jessup team is third-year law students Rebecca Feldmann and Ashley Walker and second-year law students Cusick, Erin Griebel and Shibani Shah.

The team is co-coached by Gilbert Sison and Leila Sadat. Sison is a 2000 graduate of the law school and an alumnus of the Jessup program himself. Sison is an associate at Rosenblum, Schwartz, Rogers & Glass, P.C., in St. Louis. Sadat is the Henry H. Oberschelp Professor of Law and director of the law school’s Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute.