MSU College of Law News

MSU-DCL Moot Court Team Best in the World

For Immediate Release

Contact: Janet Harvey-Clark, 517/432-6959

For the first time in the history of the world’s largest moot court competition, a team from the United States has won the prestigious Hardy C. Dillard Competition, the international component of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. The Michigan State University-DCL College of Law (MSU-DCL) moot court team won first place, beating out teams from Georgetown, University of Michigan and Harvard.

The road to international victory started with regional competitions, and the MSU-DCL team received the award for Best Team Memorials in the U.S. East Regional for the Jessup competition, held in Ann Arbor, Mich., in March.

The team’s memorials were then entered in the Dillard competition, which pits the top memorials from all regional and national competitions in the Jessup against one another in a separate competition.

The MSU-DCL team was among a pool of 483 participating schools, representing 65 countries around the world. Each team had won either a regional or national Jessup competition. These winning memorials were re-graded by a team of judges and ranked to determine the “best-of-the-best.”

The MSU-DCL team won this distinguished first-place honor. As a result, its winning memorials will be published in the annual Jessup International Law Competition Compendium, subscribed to by law schools around the world for use as a research tool and sample of excellence in writing in the field of international law and litigation. This year’s issue on which the students had to write dealt with the rights of women in children during a time of civil war.

“As the Jessup competition nears its 50th year, the international rounds of the competition have become a gathering place for academics, practitioners and students from around the globe to partake in the upper echelon of academic exercise and professional interaction as it relates to the realm of international law and related studies,” said Deborah Skorupski, the team's faculty advisor and MSU-DCL adjunct professor. “It has also become a preferred recruiting field of highly qualified, motivated students for both academic institutions and international law firms.”

The students who competed on the winning team are Nicolas Camargo, a third-year student from Colombia; Jina Han, a third-year student from South Korea; R. Joseph Harte, a second-year student from South Lyon, Mich.; David Pizzuti, a second-year student from Birmingham, Mich., and president of the International Law Society at MSU-DCL; and Camille Van Buren, a second-year student from Scotville, Mich.

This year’s team members all are active in the college’s International Law Society and its Journal of International Law. Participation in the Jessup Competition is a six-month commitment for the students, who gain an in-depth understanding of international law and attendant problems such as enforcement of state responsibility and jurisdiction before the International Court of Justice.

Michigan State University-DCL College of Law, formerly known as Detroit College of Law, was founded in 1891 and was the first law school in Detroit. To extend its commitment to educational excellence, the Detroit College of Law affiliated with Michigan State University in 1995 and moved to MSU’s East Lansing campus in 1997.

The move to MSU enabled the Law College to build a $28 million facility and provide law students the benefits of a Big Ten university while maintaining its private law school status. Today, MSU-DCL remains the nation’s oldest continuously operating independent law school.

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About the author: Janet Harvey-Clark is the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Michigan State University-DCL College of Law.