USD VICAM Hosts Fourth Annual Michael Thorsnes Pre-Moot

The University of San Diego’s Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Team (VICAM) hosted its Fourth Annual Michael Thorsnes Pre-Moot on February 26, 2011, with a reception on February 25th at Thorsnes, Bartolotta, and McGuire law firm in Downtown.

VICAM is a student-run moot team that competes annually in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, which takes place in Hong Kong and Vienna.  Each year the competition features an international sales contract dispute, governed by the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods.  The USD VICAM team begins training in October for the April competitions.  In preparation, the USD team researches, writes briefs, and practices oral advocacy skills with professors and practitioners.

With the growing popularity of the international competitions, with more than 300 teams from 70 countries, practice has become a crucial phase for success in Vienna and Hong Kong.  This pre-moot is the premier event for teams from around the world to come to San Diego and prepare for the Vis Moot.  This event gives teams the opportunity to practice and refine oral arguments using the same Vis Moot problem as those in Vienna and Hong Kong.  USD VICAM hosts the only pre-moot west of the Mississippi River and has welcomed teams from as far as Finland.  

The Thorsnes Pre-Moot is judged by panels of lawyers from the San Diego and Los Angeles legal community and guests from around the world.  Competitors are able to receive a very practical learning experience.  Arbitrators included law professors, politicians, experienced practicing arbitrators, and seasoned litigation lawyers.  This was also a great networking and socializing experience for the students, and it was a great opportunity to solicit advice from seasoned competitors.  During this year’s competition, 12 teams competed in three general rounds, followed by a semifinal round and final round in Warren Hall.  In the final round, Universidad Panamericana–Guadalajara was pitted against Pepperdine University in the Grace Courtroom.  After nearly two hours of oral arguments from the two teams, Pepperdine was crowned the victor of the 2011 Michael Thorsnes Pre-Moot.

The competition namesake, Michael Thorsnes, is the mentor and guiding spirit behind the USD Vis Moot team.  He is also the sponsor who has continued to make this pre-moot possible.  Mike is one of the most distinguished and successful graduates of USD School of Law, having been awarded the Arthur C. Hughes Career Achievement Award from the University, as well as the Outstanding Alumnus award from the law school.  Mike is also one of the top trial lawyers in America.  Three years in a row, from 2001-2003, he was named one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in California” as determined by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals.  Due to Mike’s continuous support and mentorship throughout the year, USD VICAM has grown into a successful team and a strong representative of University of San Diego School of Law.

2011 Michael Thorsnes Pre-Moot Champion Pepperdine (left) faces off against Universidad Panamericana–Guadalajara (right) in USD Law’s Grace Courtroom.

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