The team of the University of St. Gallen received the case study for the Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot Court in September. Rooted in unknown historical facts and in a complex web of countries and people, the case was quite a challenge. We however undertook it with excitement, as we researched the historical context and built up arguments in heated discussions. All team members always worked together on the content, each giving his views on things, which allowed for quite a complete comprehension of the case and of our arguments. All the while, we had constant support
from our fifth team member- coach Lukas Rusch.
After an intense preparation time between September and January with entire evenings of discussion and a lot of research in the exciting field of international investment law, we had the opportunity to practice our oral pleadings in February at renowned law firms in Zurich and London. After our first
practice rounds at Lenz & Staehelin and Pestalozzi in Zürich, the list with of points for improvement was filling pages. The feedback given by lawyers of diverse backgrounds and with diverse experiences was extremely fruitful, as well as the exercise of actually having to speak before a critical audience. We were able to build up on the received feedback and work a lot on improving pleading as well as the content of our presentations.
We then took up the challenge of traveling to London to polish these pleadings and face an opponent team for the first time. We had the opportunity of pleading amongst our team at Wilmer Hale in front of renowned investment arbitration experts. Much improvement was achieved thanks to the precise and critical feedback received there. We were was able to implement that input and level up our pleadings to face the Queen Mary University team at Baker Botts immediately after. This pre-moot was very motivating and gave us a good idea of what the pleadings would be like in Frankfurt. Although the focus in London lay on the preparation of the decisive pleadings in Frankfurt, we also engaged in team-building and recharged our batteries.
Mid-March, after the last final adjustments of our pleading style in intense working sessions with our faithful and dedicated coach, a more than six months preparation period came to an end as our team travelled to Frankfurt to represent the University of St. Gallen at the Moot Court. The overall level of the competition was very high and all teams were forced to deliver a top performance in order to impress the arbitrators. We were able to face this challenge and push our limits while pleading, strongly supporting each other and grateful for the supportive presence of our great coach. We faced teams from Kiev, Delhi and Washington in the general rounds- having to step up our game at every pleading as the level increased. We did unfortunately not make it to the final rounds, which however
didn’t keep us from getting the most out of the competition. Facing other teams from all over the world, organised differently and with an entirely different style of pleading, was most instructive. The other teams thought differently- most of them coming from the common law system. They brought other arguments and each team focused on its own strengths and best knowledge. It was exciting to share our insight and legal education. It was also a fantastic occasion to get to know other law students from all over the world and make friends, sharing experiences and good times. It was highly enriching, in particular thanks to the extra activities organised in Frankfurt, allowing for proper networking. We
were also able to observe and learn from the best teams at the open semi-final and final hearings. We got a unique insight into arbitration and how things work in real life.
After so many years of studying and being limited to the theory of the law, this first moot court was a marking experience for all of the team members. We experienced first-hand what we’d been preparing for throughout our legal studies and what our work as advocates would be like. This fantastic legal experience was coupled with intense socialising within this field of investment arbitration, making of this all an exciting and highly-motivating few days. The Moot Court was a great experience on a personal as well as on a professional level and has contributed to the team members’ future in a significant manner.
We are extremely grateful to everyone who supported us, both in our pleadings and in contributing to our final performance. We would especially like to thank Pestalozzi and Wilmer Hale for making it possible for us to travel to London and Frankfurt, enjoy our moot experience as well as our stay in each city. A huge thank you goes to Lukas Rusch and Prof. Anne van Aaken without whom none of this would have been possible. The countless hours they spent working with us on the case, giving recommendations and preparing us for our pleadings as well as encouraging and motivating us are of unquantifiable value. Everyone on the team is happy to have been part of this unique and highly enriching experience!
Irene Röthlisberger, Jannick Koller, Sandro Fehlmann & Tania Bukhari Benz
Team University of St Gallen, 7th Frankfurt Investment Abritration Moot Court