Alumni Return to Judge Jessup International Law Competition

Lexington, VA Monday, February 19, 2007

When Josh Humphries '07L was looking for people to judge the South Central Regional Round of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition at the School of Law on Feb. 16 -18, he wanted the best. So it was only natural to turn to Washington and Lee alumni.

He started by perusing the plaques of past Jessup Team winners hanging on the walls of Lewis Hall. From there the list grew to include alumni who have distinguished themselves in state and federal law. "Holding the Regionals at W&L was a good opportunity to show off W&L to the outside world," he explained. "Not just the Moot Court Room, but also our talented graduates and our amazing faculty."

The response to his request was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. "Our alumni are a great group," said Humphries. "The ones I was able to contact were really excited to be a part of this. Even those who weren't able to come said that if there was any way they could have 'moved the mountain,' they would have been here."

Planning such an event has its rewards. For Humphries, it was "seeing the care and devotion that so many alumni have for W&L. I loved seeing old friends catching up, and people who hadn't met becoming acquainted. And there were a number of funny coincidences, such as Jane Allen Fletcher '84L having lived in the apartment Brooke Lewis' '76, '83L once occupied."

Humphries also has high praise for the W&L Law faculty. "Another highlight was once again seeing the law professors jump into the breach to help out when needed.  Several responded to the last minute emergencies. I also had a lot of help from members of Moot Court Board and law students, who helped at all levels."


Front row (l to r): Bob Connolly '80L, The Hon. J. Leyburn Mosby J. '62A, '65L; Jonathan Robbins '06L, Morten Skoejer '05LL.M., '07L; Jane Allen Fletcher '84L. Back Row (l to r): Dan Westbrook '80L, Paul Fletcher '85L, The Hon. William F. Stone '68, '70L, Sam Allen '82L, Jack Corrado '80L, Kyle McNew '06L. Alumni not pictured but who served as judges include The Hon. Walter Kelley '77, '81L; Tommy Spencer '69L, Brooke Lewis '76, '83L, and Steven Talevi '82L.

While there was only one winning team, at least one group took losing graciously, sending a bottle of wine over to Bob Connolly '80L and his dining companions after the competition was over. "Wasn't that a nice gesture?" asked Connolly. It was certainly a fitting end to a job well done by all.

While W&L was hosting the Jessup's South Central Regionals, the Law School's own Jessup Team traveled to UCLA to compete in the Jessup Pacific Regionals. Unfortunately, the team of Adam Hull '07L, Chris Price '07L, Kristina Longo '08L, Madeline Stowe '08L and Diane Meier '08L did not advance to the semi-final round, but, as Longo commented, "Going to California was a nice treat in February."

One of the team's goals was to establish a legacy, "where there will always be 3Ls on the team who can usher in the 2Ls, who will then do the same the following year," Longo said. "I have every intention of staying involved with the Jessup Team next year as a 3L, and am grateful to last year's team for paving the way for us."

Preparation began with practice rounds before W&L professors, primarily W&L's international law scholars. "We started writing before finals in the fall semester and prepared for the oral advocacy in January. It was really difficult at first, as three of us had not taken International Law yet, but luckily Adam and Chris helped a lot in this regard," said Longo.

She believes the team's greatest skill was arguing the law in response to complex questions about the state of the law and policy implications, even though the judges didn't always query them in those areas during the competition.

"There are things I would have done differently," she said, "and things we as a team could have done better, but I am hoping that I will carry that with me to next year's competition."

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