ND Law students compete in Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Austria

Author: Denise Wager

Vienna Opera House
The opening ceremony of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot was held at the Vienna Opera House.

Notre Dame Law School’s student-run Vis Moot team competed in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna, Austria, from March 30 to April 7. The students received a student club support grant from the Nanovic Institute for European Studies to attend this event.

This year’s oralists were third-year student Tucker Golay, second-year student Batul Ather, and first-year student Ziyan Wu. Second-year students Arlinda Shehu, Maria Hatzisavas, and Sarah Jeong served as brief writers. Janae Yip and Tim Hutchinson, both third-year students, coached the team.

The Vis Moot is one of the world’s largest international moot court competitions and is based on a fictitious commercial dispute between two parties engaged in international arbitration. The goal of the competition is to promote the practice of arbitration and develop skills in commercial legal disputes. Over 370 teams from 89 jurisdictions participated in the competition this year. Notre Dame Law School team has consistently placed in the top 30 percent and is the only team in the competition that is run and coached by fellow students.

“This year, we competed against teams from India, Mexico, and Italy,” said Ather. “We were honored to argue in front of arbitrators from varied backgrounds, including law professors from Zurich and judicial clerks on the Supreme Court of India. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity, especially the lifelong friendships that came with it.”

2023 Vis Moot
Notre Dame Law School was the only team in this year’s Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot to be run and coached by fellow students.

The 2023 competition took place in-person at the University of Vienna, after three years of virtual pleadings. Since the fall, the team held weekly oral practices, performed legal research in alternative sources of law, and wrote two briefs. This was the first time, since the team’s inception in 2017, that the team’s travel and lodging was fully funded.

“We are very grateful for the generous support of Dean Cole, the Student Bar Association, the Student Activities Office, and the Nanovic Institute,” said Yip.

Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution practiced primarily in Europe and Asia. The Law School offers relevant courses in International Arbitration and International Arbitration Advocacy Skills.

“During the competition, we observed how arbitration is performed in a cordial manner, as opposed to the adversarial nature we are accustomed to in American argument,” said Yip.

Hutchinson said the Vis Moot has been a tremendous opportunity to learn about a new area of law with a hands-on practical approach.

“Most of all, I am proud of the work our past teams have gone through and look forward with optimism to what future teams will accomplish,” said Hutchinson.

Learn More About Student Club Support Grants

Originally published by Denise Wager at law.nd.edu on April 20, 2023. Minor modifications by Keith Sayer, Nanovic Institute, April 25, 2022.