VICAM Gets Squiddy Wit It


Size Matters.  Squid between 100–150 grams is the optimal size for long-line fishing.  If you’re a business entity contracting for 20,000 tons of squid, be sure to include the size specification in your contract, or you might just receive un-sized squid falling below the optimal range. When this happens, your customers will not be happy, and you may be forced to begin arbitration proceedings.

For the past eight months, the USD VICAM team has researched and written four 35-page briefs and practiced between 4 and 12 hours a week to prepare for the “Olympics of International Trade.” The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Competition “Vis Moot” and sister competition “Vis East” are considered to be among the most prestigious moot court competitions in the world. This year, the younger Hong Kong competition hosted 87 international teams and more than 350 competitors over a seven-day period. In Vienna, there were 262 teams and more than 1,000 competitors. There is no competition in the world that compares to these two week-long tournaments.

In the month of April, ten students traveled to either Hong Kong or Vienna to compete against teams from Germany, China, South Korea, India, Russia, and Romania. In Hong Kong, the team competed against two past tournament champions and schools known to be within the Ivy League of Vis East.  Each round, the teams intertwined scholarly and case authority and business reasonableness arguments to articulate why their client should prevail in the arbitration proceedings. In one of the rounds, advocate Kaitlin Reilly, who received a tournament honorable mention for her oral advocacy skills stated, “Claimant took a gamble by contracting for un-sized squid, and may not have received what it wished for, but did receive EXACTLY what it contracted for.” The simple statement went to the heart of the arguments in a clear and concise manner. The arbitrators loved the conclusion. The Hong Kong team not only put forth an excellent showing  in the four days of preliminary competitions, several judges even noted that they wanted to see Team USD compete in the championship round.1

The USD VICAM team is an internationally awarded advocacy program that continues to improve and expand in reputation and skill sets. Now, after a year of living, breathing, and dreaming about squid, UNCITRAL Model Law, Milan Rules, IBA Guidelines, and international scholars, the team proudly takes a deep breath and looks towards the future. As for now, remember, if you contract for tuna, you cannot expect to receive caviar.

1 At the time this article was submitted, the Vienna team was still overseas competing.

USD Law VICAM Hong Kong Team: Stephanie Zigler, Blaz Gutierrez, Michael Minicilli,Christina Phan, Kaitlin Reilly

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