Vis Moot in Vienna

27 Mar

If you follow me on any form of social media, you’ve probably figured out that for about the last week or so, I’ve been in Vienna, Austria. The cool part is I’m here for a law school Moot competition.

I tried out for this team last July. We wrote briefs based on a complex set of facts relating to a breach of contract, and practiced our oral arguments a few times every week since January. It was a long haul but the pay-off was pretty great: over a week in Vienna on the law school’s dime? Yessss. My travel-obsessed self was pretty stoked when I heard about this possibility – and the trip came at the perfect time, too.

I realize I’ve been totally neglecting blogging – so I thought I’d break up the experience into a few different posts. We’re done with the competition, and since that is the reason I’m here I feel like that should come first.

We were competing in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. Since it was an arbitration, a lot of the formalities of trial/American Court were none existant. We remained during seated during the rounds, didn’t have to address the panel in any ritualistic manner, and we met people from all over the world.

the Vis logo.

the Vis logo.

We arrived in Vienna on Thursday night and our first argument was on Saturday, bright and early. There are 5 team members (4 of us argued). On the first day, Taylor and Aaron represented the Claimant against a Macedonian team, from Ss. Cyril University. The four main issues we discussed were broken into Procedural and Substantive issues. For the Claimant, Aaron argued that Respondent’s written witness statement should be kept out because he refused to appear for live questioning/cross-examination and that any purported oral modification needed to be evidenced by a signed writing. Taylor argued the substantive issues – that there was no oral modification and that Respondent’s use of child labor constituted fundamental breach of the contract. (Bored yet?).

the first round.

the first round.

The first round was pretty intense – the panel consisted of one particularly fiery arbitrator from New Zealand. She was pretty blatant with her scoffs and looks (mostly directed at Taylor). It was really beneficial for my partner Rachael and I to watch this round though so we could gear up for our next one the following day, where we would argue the other side. The boys’ round took place in a law firm – at Baker & McKenzie.

outside Baker & McKenzie: Vienna

outside Baker & McKenzie: Vienna

They don’t decide the case or declare a winner – but instead subjectively rate all of us on score cards. It’s a little bit frustrating, but they do provide feedback at the end of each round.

On Sunday, Rachael and I had our round at 10 am at the University of Vienna’s Law School. We went up against Nicholas Copernicus University’s team (they’re from Poland). They were pretty good – and they adorably keep a blog for their team. We enjoyed the round – both Rachael and I did well and got mostly positive feedback and were excited to go again on Tuesday.

Here’s a photo from right after our round. From left to right wer have our Polish opponents, our three arbitrators, me and Rachael. The arbitrators were Swiss, Singaporean, and French. It was fun – but they did pester me with a whole barrage of questions at one point.

Nicholas Copernicus v. Loyola Law School

Nicholas Copernicus v. Loyola Law School

counsel for Respondent at the Juridicum

counsel for Respondent at the Juridicum.

and yes I bought that awesome hat. And studded leather gloves. #WhatNow?

We had Monday off completely so we did a ton of sight-seeing and stuff. On Tuesday, Rachael and I went again, this time against the Finnish team from the University of Lapland. They weren’t as strong as the Polish team. I felt the strongest about this day of the competition. The boys went again at 4 pm – this time at the DLA Piper office in Vienna. They definitely had the bougie-r venues. They went against Charles University. They were by far the best of the teams we went up against.


One arbitrator from Mexico City asked some really tough questions, but they did very well. After this, we jetted to the Announcement to hear if we advanced. Unfortunately, we were not in the top 64 teams (out of 296). All in all, though, this was an awesome experience and I think we were all very happy we did it.

Lemme know if you have any questions about the moot! I’ll be back soon with a run-down of my Vienna favs!

One Response to “Vis Moot in Vienna”


  1. resolve 2013: the results | That's G - December 27, 2013

    […] my friends Jeff and Kate get married in Portland, Oregon, went to Vienna, Austria for a week for a law school moot court competition (so so fun), went to my friends’ Andrea and A.K.’s wedding in Chicago, and planned a […]

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