The 2012 White & Case Jessup Cup


Washington, DC, Moscow, April 3, 2012 ... Global law firm White & Case LLP announced today that a team of law students from Moscow State University won the prestigious 2012 White & Case Jessup Cup (part of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition). The winning team members were Grigory Vaypan, Elena Manasyan, Nataliya Sekretareva, Aleksandra Ivlieva and Olga Nasonova.

The win by Moscow State University is only the seventh time in the 53-year history of Jessup that a non-native English speaking team has won the competition. With the pleadings in English, it is extremely unusual for non-English speaking law students to win in the competition as oralists have to argue complex legal scenarios in their non-native language.

Moscow State University faced Columbia University (US) in the championship round, which was held on March 31 at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC. Jennifer Lim, a Columbia University team member, received the Best Oralist Award in the final round for the second consecutive year. In addition to Lim, the Columbia team members also included Evan Ezray, Benjamin Schrier, Jan Messerschmidt and Aidan Grano. Judges Joan Donoghue, Kenneth Keith and Hisashi Owada judged the final round representing the first time in Jessup history that three judges from the International Court of Justice served on the Final Bench.

Winning contestant Grigory Vaypan stated:

“This is the third time that we’ve participated in the competition which really is an ‘Olympic Games’ for law students. Each year we’ve learnt and improved our overall performance. Winning this year means so much to the team, and is a really positive statement for law students from all over Russia. Experience, hard work and commitment have made this victory possible.”

Aleksandra Ivlieva from the winning MGU team added:

“We had so many fans from teams that were not native English speakers – they were really hoping that we would win. We are the first non-native English speaking team to win since Columbia in 2009 and we’re really honored by that. In the final there was a sign that read ‘Russia versus the US’ which made it feel like an international conference that you see on the news between President Medvedev and President Obama who are both lawyers like us.”

White & Case's involvement with the Jessup goes back many years and includes the founding of the first-ever competition in Russia in 2002, now the world's largest national competition with nearly 50 participating universities. In 2012, six Jessup teams advanced to represent Russia in the White & Case International Rounds.

"We are very pleased that for the first time in the history of the Jessup competition a Russian team has won the Cup,” commented Hermann Schmitt, Executive Partner of White & Case’s Moscow office. “White & Case founded the Jessup National Competition in Russia in 2002 and has been supporting it ever since. We take our commitment to the development of the Russian legal education very seriously, and it is a matter of great joy and pride for everyone involved that the Moscow State University is this year's winner. The development of the legal system has been the Number 1 concern for foreign investors in Russia. The fact that the country has produced a team of law students that is now the global champion of an international law competition shows the shift for the better that has been gradually happening in the past years."

“The quality of the advocacy we heard was excellent,” said Ian Forrester, head of the White & Case’s Global Pro Bono Practice. “The winning team had so mastered the subject that they spoke without notes, showing a fluent command of both the details and the big principles. The competition was intense in the final rounds and every team showed great talent as creative thinkers and as confident advocates. Each participant will take home valuable experience and new friendships even if only one takes the trophy.”

Administered by the International Law Students Association (ILSA), Jessup is the largest moot court competition in the world. With more than 130 teams representing 78 countries, the 2012 White & Case International Rounds were the largest in the history of the Jessup.

Prior to the International Rounds, Jessup teams present oral and written arguments on a hypothetical international law case to a simulated International Court of Justice. This year's case involved several timely legal issues, including the international standing of a state immediately following a coup d'état, international responsibility for the use of force by a state while taking part in a regional military operation and the destruction of a cultural site.

In addition to sponsoring the International Rounds, White & Case sponsored 12 Jessup competitions held in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Georgia, Poland, Hong Kong, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the Washington, DC, Mid-Atlantic Regional Competition.

About White & Case

White & Case LLP is a leading global law firm with lawyers in 38 offices in 26 countries. Among the first US-based law firms to establish a truly global presence, we provide counsel and representation in virtually every area of law that affects cross-border business. Our clients value both the breadth of our global network and depth of our US, English and local law capabilities in each of our regions and rely on us for their complex cross-border transactions, arbitration and litigation provided by our global practices.