Duke Law students take second place in WTO Moot Court Competition

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A team of Duke Law students finished a strong second in the Sidley-IIEL World Trade Organization (WTO) Moot Court Competition on Jan. 29-30 in Washington, D.C. Paul Brumpton, LLM ‘04, Liu Fang '05, Amir Farokhi '04, Mayur Patel '04, Brian Sumner ‘04 and Mariana Tavares, LLM ‘04 defeated teams from U. Chicago, NYU and Howard before falling to Georgetown in the finals of the competition, sponsored by Sidley Austin Brown & Wood and the Institute of International Economic Law at Georgetown University Law Center.

“The Duke team really pulled off quite a performance, finishing just behind the home team of Georgetown,” said Duke Law Professor and former legal advisor to the WTO Joost Pauwelyn. “Our students were very motivated, and although most of them were relative newcomers to the field of trade law, they wrote, behaved and pleaded like professionals. I expect that this will motivate more students to participate next year.”

Sumner was proud to represent Duke at this budding invitational competition. “It was a wonderful experience for us.” Sumner said, “Naturally, we wish we had won, but I think we gave it our best shot, and considering that this was our first time here, we are really pleased with our performance."

The competition, which focuses on international trade law, was organized and judged by practitioners, government officials and academics directly engaged in international trade law, such as Pauwelyn.

“I got involved in this competition last year as a judge, when they had a trial competition between four teams from Georgetown and George Washington,” Pauwelyn said. “This year they broadened the field of participants and also invited top ranking schools offering trade law courses.”

Teams from Columbia, Duke, George Washington, Georgetown, Harvard, Tufts, Howard, NYU and U. Chicago competed in this year's competition.

Duke's team impressed event organizer Patricio Grane, an international trade lawyer with Sidley Austin Brown & Wood. “The Duke students gave an outstanding performance. It was a pleasure to hear them argue the case. Their oralists were excellent.”

Duke's oralists for the final round were Sumner and Patel, who was also recognized as second-best oralist.

“ I'm satisfied that we presented a strong case in very good form and was really happy to hear from the practitioners in attendance that they were impressed with our performance. ” Patel said.

The Duke Law team spoke highly of Pauwelyn.

“I honestly believe our success was made possible by Professor Pauwelyn's excellent leadership. He assembled this team and inspired us throughout our journey. To have someone of his caliber at Duke Law School bodes well for future Duke WTO teams,” said Patel.