Washington University law students win international Moot Court crown

Andrew Nash and Samir Kaushik, third-year law students from Washington University in St. Louis, won the prestigious D.M. Harish Memorial International Law Moot Court Competition (DMH), held in Mumbai, India. The two defeated teams from around the world en route to the championship and eventually defeated a team from Cornell Law School in the championship round. In addition, Nash took individual honors, winning second-best oralist in the Competition.

Samir Kaushik and Andrew Nash receive the final trophy from six judges of the Bombay High Court.

Michael Peil, Assistant Dean for International Programs and Executive Director of the law school’s Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute, received a phone call from the team on Sunday, announcing their victory. “They were exuberant but exhausted,” said Peil, who served as the team’s coach and coordinator. “After all this hard work, they’re pleased that their biggest remaining challenge is getting the large trophy home from India.”

The team went undefeated in the preliminary rounds, defeating teams from India and Australia. In the round-robin four-team semifinals, they defeated teams from the United States, India, and Ireland. In the championship round, they defeated a team from Cornell Law School, the only other United States school in the competition.

This marked the first year that a United States school has competed in the DMH, which has historically been limited to schools from former members of the British Commonwealth. Twenty-six schools competed in this year’s DMH, including teams from India, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Australia, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, and the United States.

The DMH is sponsored and administered by the Government Law College in Mumbai, one of the top law schools in India. It is named for the late Professor D.M. Harish, one of the framers of the post-colonial Indian tax-law system and a leading Indian lawyer and legal scholar.

DMH organizer Abhinav Bhushan called Washington University School of Law to congratulate the school. “[Andrew and Samir] were very well-spoken and knowledgeable,” Bhushan said. “The competition judges inform me that this was one of the finest teams they have seen in the eight-year history of the competition.

“The high quality of their presentations reflects well not only on Andrew and Samir, but also on the incredible faculty and student support network back home in St. Louis,” Bhushan added.

This year’s DMH competition required competitors to prepare oral and written arguments on a hypothetical fact pattern concerning a dispute between two fictional states, Anghore and Ratanka. The case focused on a trade treaty between Anghore, a developing state, and the Tormay Union, an international organization based loosely upon the European Union, and demanded extensive research into issues of international treaty law and interpretation, international human rights law, and the law concerning developing nations.

Nash and Kaushik will spend a week in India after the competition, meeting with law schools, law firms, and government officials in Mumbai and Bangalore as part of the law school’s strategic plan to expand internship, employment and exchange opportunities in South Asia.

The DMH is one of three international moot court competitions in which Washington University School of Law participates. The school’s team in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition (third-year students Ashley Walker and Rebecca Feldmann and second-year students Jessica Cusick, Erin Griebel, and Shibani Shah) will travel to Chicago next weekend to take part in the first stage of the Jessup Competition.

The school’s team in the Niagara Cup International Law Moot Court Competition (second-year students Sally Conroy, Sumeet Jain, Andrew Lucas, and Robert McDonald) will travel to Washington in March to take part in that competition. Leila Nadya Sadat, J.D., the Henry H. Oberschelp Professor of Law and Director of the Harris Institute, heads the school’s award-winning international mooting program.

All Washington University law students who participate in one of the international teams are aided in their preparations by enrolling in a special seminar, “International Courts and Tribunals.” The course is taught by adjunct professor Gilbert Sison, an associate at the St. Louis firm of Rosenblum, Schwartz, Rogers & Glass, P.C., a 2000 graduate of the law school, and an alumnus of the school’s Jessup moot court team. The seminar teaches students the fundamentals of international oral research and advocacy, and offers an intensive introduction to the principles of public international law.

This marks the first world championship for Washington University School of Law mooting, but is only the latest in a tremendous run of success for law school teams internationally mooting. In April 2007, the school’s Jessup team placed third in the world (out of over 500 teams from nearly 100 countries) and won the Alona M. Evans Award for the best Memorial (written brief) in the International Rounds.