Law school moot team competes in Vienna

Truman Bodden Law School students Aliana Dodds, Oneka Thompson and Romina Kape competed in a moot competition in Vienna, Austria, in March.

The moot team from the Truman Bodden Law School recently competed in the 25th Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna, Austria. The team comprised second-year students Aliana Dodds, Oneka Thompson and Romina Kape, accompanied by their coach, Andrew Woodcock.

The goal of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot is: “to foster the study of international commercial law and arbitration for resolution of international business disputes through its application to a concrete problem of a client and to train law leaders of tomorrow in methods of alternative dispute resolution.”

The Moot, which took place March 22 to 29, consisted of two stages: Students were firstly required to draft memoranda for both the claimant and the respondent; then they were required to make oral submissions based on the memoranda to different panels of arbitrators.

For the oral submission stage, each team participated in a total of four moots. As the competition is geared toward both civil and common law jurisdiction, for each round of both the written and oral submissions, TBLS was paired with a university from a civil law jurisdiction. TBLS competed against schools from the United Arab Emirates, Romania, Brazil and Switzerland. The pairings are organized in this way to expose students to the different approaches taken by students training in other legal systems.

In participating in the Willem C. Vis Moot, the TBLS students gained experience that can be transferred into their student and future professional careers. Not only did the mooters improve their advocacy skills, they also advanced their legal research skills.

“The Vis Moot is an exceptional learning experience in and out of the boardrooms. I am honoured to have been one of the students chosen to represent TBLS and I highly encourage future students to participate in what I promise will be an unforgettable adventure in the world of advocacy,” said Romina Kape.

TBLS was one of the smallest teams in the competition, which comprised in excess of 300 teams, amounting to nearly 3,000 participants. However, this did not hinder the team’s performance and they effectively demonstrated their understanding of the issues arising in the moot problem. The mooters received positive comments from a number of arbitrators in the feedback segments. Of note, a U.K. solicitor commended the team on their eloquence and their ability to persuasively advocate the key issues.

The students have expressed that not only has the moot allowed them to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it to a practical scenario, but it has allowed them to be exposed to individuals from diverse backgrounds and to be immersed in a dissimilar environment to that of the Cayman Islands.

Oneka Thompson said, “doing the moot was somewhat out of my comfort zone, but I decided that in order to develop myself as an individual I had to kill my inhibitions. I was honestly surprised by my performance and I felt like I further broke out of my shell with public speaking.”

The opportunity for TBLS and the Cayman Islands to be represented at the competition would not have been possible without the support of the Cayman Islands Law Society, Cayman National Bank, the Caymanian Bar association, Conyers Dill & Pearman, and the Cayman Islands Government.