The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition

The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is the world’s largest moot court competition and also the oldest one dedicated to international law. New York Law School has long participated in the Jessup competition.

What are the important dates of the competition?

The dates of the 2018-19 competition have not been released yet. But you will find a general timeline below.

  • Mid-September 2018: Release of the Jessup problem
  • Early-October 2018: Release of the first batch of basic research materials
  • Mid-December 2018: Release of the second batch of basic research materials
  • Early- to mid-January 2019: Deadline for submission of memorials (i.e., brief)
  • Early-February 2019: Qualifying oral rounds in New York City

I don’t know a lot about international law. Can I still apply to join the team?

  • Yes, you can apply to the Jessup team!
  • As you can imagine, international law is a huge field with many specialties ranging from the environment to arms control to arbitration to cultural property to criminal matters, among many others.
  • While having a background in international law and international relations is very helpful, the following attributes are just as important:
    • a “can-do” attitude;
    • a commitment to follow through; and
    • a desire to learn something new – very, very quickly.

What kinds of topics appear in the Jessup problem?

  • Several topics in every Jessup competition are usually “ripped from the headlines,” meaning that the organizers will likely use actual disputes occurring in the world today.
  • They will then tailor these topics into the Jessup problem itself.
  • Last year, one involved the international rules surrounding submarine surveillance. Another concerned a non-respondent party to an international arbitration. Two years ago, competitors addressed transboundary aquifers.

These topics are very specialized. How are law students expected to know about them already?

  • They aren’t expected to know anything about them!
  • Given the specialized nature of these topics, the Jessup organizers know that every team has to learn them literally from scratch.
  • To ensure that every team is on the same footing, the Jessup organizers will distribute a batch of basic research materials (one in October and another in December) concerning the Jessup problem.
  • Teams must then learn these topics in a very, very short period of time, and then apply the facts from the problem itself to the international rules they gleaned from the basic research materials  – as both the claimant and respondent parties.

How much time will I have to learn about these issues, write about them, and then practice for oral rounds?

About 4-1/2 months from mid-September to early-February.

That doesn’t seem like a lot of time. And it sounds like a lot of work.

That is correct.

Exactly how much work will be involved in this competition?

  • The Jessup competition is a big undertaking, and is the equivalent of taking a 2-credit class.
  • All team members will be expected to meet regularly as a group (every week or once every two weeks) throughout the fall 2018 semester to discuss research and also to begin drafting the Jessup memorials (i.e, briefs).
  • The bulk of the memorial writing will most likely take place during winter break.
  • Practice sessions for the oral round will take place from mid-January through early-February.
  • The oral rounds in New York City will take place in early-February.

Can you give a rough timeline of the competition?

  • Early-August – mid-September:
    • Read the Jessup rules.
    • Read the Jessup advice.
    • Learn the basics of international law.
  • Mid-September – early October:
    • Read the Jessup Problem.
    • Take your own notes and carry out your own research.
  • Early-October – mid-December:
    • Read the first batch of basic research materials released by the Jessup organizers.
    • Decide which team members will be responsible for which issues in the Problem.
    • Learning (and mapping out) the law behind your specific issue.
    • Writing the facts for your topic.
    • Applying the facts to the law – for both the claimant and respondent.
    • Decide which team members will write the various parts of the Memorial.
  • Mid-December – mid-January:
    • Read the second batch of basic research materials released by the Jessup organizers.
    • Writing the various parts of the Memorial.
  • Mid-January – mid-February:
    • Practice for oral pleadings

You mentioned practice sessions for the oral rounds. Do you have the schedule from last year?

These practice sessions took place in New York Law School in the 9th floor conference room of the E building.

Dates Times
Tuesday, January 30, 2018 9:30 am – 11:30 am
Wednesday, January 31, 2018 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Thursday, February 1, 2018 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Friday, February 2, 2018 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Saturday, February 3, 2018 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Tues, Feb. 6, 2018 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Wed, Feb. 7, 2018 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Thurs, Feb. 8, 2018 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Fri, Feb. 9, 2018 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Sat, Feb. 10, 2018 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Sun, Feb. 11, 2018 12:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Mon, Feb. 12, 2018 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Tues, Feb. 13, 2018 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Wed, Feb. 14, 2018 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Is it really important to attend these practice sessions?

Yes. During the main component of the competition, your team will face off against another team during oral rounds where you explain and defend your legal arguments before a panel of judges. The only way to do this is practicing beforehand.

If I am selected to join the team, I won’t be able to contribute a lot of time because I have lots of other responsibilities. Is this okay . . . right?

  • Think about the following scenarios:
    • I am involved in clinics, externships, or other moot court competitions.
    • I cannot help the team during the winter break.
    • I cannot attend practice sessions for the oral pleadings.
    • I cannot attend the actual oral pleadings themselves.
  • If one or more of these scenarios apply to you, please think hard about applying to the Jessup team.
  • At the risk of sounding like a smart-aleck, if you can’t (or won’t) do the work, then why join the team in the first place?

Do I have to be a member of the Moot Court Association to join the Jessup team?

  • No, the Jessup competition is completely separate from the Moot Court Association.

Can I get academic credit for participating in the Jessup competition?

  • We are in the process of arranging academic credit for participating in the Jessup competition.
  • If everything works out, you can receive a total of 2 academic credits.
  • If you don’t want academic credit at all, that is okay.
  • To get these 2 credits, you must sign up for “Independent Study” during the Spring 2019 semester. It will be your responsibility to sign-up for these credits. Credits will not be awarded in Fall 2018.
  • All independent study courses award letter grades. The pass/fail option is no longer available.
  • The Jessup faculty advisor will sign-off on the credits when you successfully complete all of your duties for the Jessup team.

Can I use the Jessup memorial to satisfy the Law School’s writing requirement?

  • Along with receiving academic credit through Independent Study, you may also use the Jessup memorial to satisfy the Law School’s writing requirement.
  • The Jessup faculty advisor will sign your writing requirement form once you finish the competition.

What were the results of last year’s competition?

Scroll to the bottom of the screen for more information.

When will the Center for International Law select its Jessup team members?

During the summer months of 2018.

I would like to become a team member. Where can I apply?

A link will be available soon. Please check back soon.


During the 2017-18 competition, the following students represented New York Law School:

  • Shan Chen 2L
  • Maverick James 2L
  • Nabeela Latif 2L
  • Victoria Lee 3L
  • Eleanor Spencer 3L

1 – Tiffany Schneider (Coach), 2 – Nicholas Luciano (Coach), 3 – Victoria Lee, 4 – Shan Chen, 5 – Nabeela Latif, 6 – Eleanor Spencer, 7 – Maverick James, 8 – Yonatan Hassin (Coach)

During the Northeast Regionals of the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition at the offices of Shearman & Sterling, our intrepid team members faced off against Charleston, Maine, Northeastern, and Pace Law Schools. During four rounds, they took questions from a panel of judges and debated a wide range of topics, including submarine surveillance, arbitration, the law of the sea, the use of force, questions of jurisdiction, the laws of war, and nuclear weapons proliferation. Although our team members did not advance to the final, their scores in each round were close to those of the opposing teams. In their written comments, the judges noted that the NYLS team made “good use of the facts,” and that its arguments were “well-structured and clearly laid out.”

No summary would be complete without a very, very special thank-you to our team coaches – Yonatan Hassin 3L, Nicholas Luciano 3L, and Tiffany Schneider 3L, all of whom competed last year. We can personally attest that they provided invaluable advice, continuous guidance, boundless enthusiasm, and countless hours of mooting to prepare our team for the regionals – and all with a great sense of humor. No other individuals in the Law School can truly stand in their stead. Their dedication and concern went beyond the call of duty. Just watching them help the team would make anyone proud to say that we are (and work at) New York’s Law School.

Michael Rhee, the Associate Director of the Center for International Law, provided the usual administrative assistance as well as his own succinct primers on the law of the sea, nuclear weapons proliferation, and the laws of war. He also helped to moot the team through hours of practice rounds.

Many thanks also go out to Professor Ruti Teitel (the Jessup Faculty Advisor) as well as to Carolyn Hasselmann of the Law Library for her expert research assistance. Finally, we would like to announce this year’s recipient of the “NYLS Jessup Spirit Award” – Professor Lloyd Bonfield. As a director emeritus of the Center for International Law, he attended a practice session (while battling a cold, no less), and also a round at Shearman & Sterling – very nice gestures which did not go unnoticed by the team.