Jessup FAQs


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White & Case Jessup Competition Resources

Q: What is the Jessup?

A: Founded in 1959, the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, commonly called the Jessup, is an international advocacy competition in which law students present oral and written pleadings before a simulated International Court of Justice. Administered by the International Law Students Association (ILSA) in 100 countries, the Jessup is the largest moot court competition in the world with more than 3,000 students from nearly700 universities competing annually.

Q: What is ILSA?

A: ILSA (International Law Students Association) is a non-profit association of law students and legal professionals dedicated to the promotion of international law. For more information, please go to the ILSA website at

Q: What is White & Case?

A: Founded in 1901, White & Case LLP is a leading global law firm with lawyers around the world. Among the first US-based law firms to establish a truly global presence, it provides counsel and representation in virtually every area of law that affects cross-border business. For more information, please go to

Q: What is White & Case's involvement in the Jessup?

A: White & Case expanded its global partnership with the ILSA to become the official sponsor of the White & Case Jessup International Rounds. The Firm's involvement with the Jessup goes back many years. It founded the first-ever Jessup national competition in Russia in 2002 and has served as ILSA's sole Global Partner since 2007. With active participation and sponsorship in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada,   Egypt, France, Georgia, Hong Kong, Mexico, Myanmar, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom and the US, White & Case continues to provide financial support to ILSA to encourage the growth of the Jessup in various countries and regions.

Q: Who is Philip C. Jessup?

A: The Jessup Competition is named for the Honourable Philip C. Jessup. Judge Philip C. Jessup had a long and distinguished academic, judicial, and diplomatic career. Judge Jessup practiced law and taught at several American universities until 1961. He was an assistant to Elihu Root during the 1929 Conference of Jurists on the Permanent Court of International Justice. He attended both the Bretton Woods and San Francisco conferences, and played a key role in the formation of the International Law Commission (ILC). Judge Jessup served as American Ambassador to the United Nations from 1948 to 1953. He was President of the American Society of International Law from 1954-1955, and a member of the Curatorium of the Hague Academy of International Law from 1957 to 1968. From 1961 to 1970 Judge Jessup was a member of the International Court of Justice. Judge Jessup continued to lecture and teach until his death in 1986.

Q: What is the Jessup Compromis?

A: The Jessup Compromis (also called the Jessup Problem) is a hypothetical case involving timely international law issues published in September every year. Based on Jessup team requests, Problem Clarifications and Corrections are published by the ILSA Executive Office on the date in the Official Schedule. The Official Schedule can be found at

Q: What is the difference between a Jessup Regional, National and International Competition?

A: The Jessup Competition consists of two levels: the qualifying tournaments (Regional and National Competitions) and the world championships (White & Case International Rounds). In nations where only one team registers for the Jessup Competition, this team advances as the national representative at the White & Case International Rounds held every spring in Washington, D.C. If more than one university from a nation wants to participate, they must first compete in a National Competition to earn the right to advance to the White & Case International Rounds. When there are many universities that participate from one nation, Regional Competitions are held with each Regional Champion advancing to the White & Case International Rounds. Regional Competitions are held in the United States.

Q: Who can participate in the Jessup?

A: Students attending law schools, law faculties, and institutions with international law-related degree programs are eligible to participate in the Jessup. Eligible team members must be full or part-time students pursuing a law degree or international law-related degree who have not engaged in the practice of law after graduating from any type of law degree program. Some students must also obtain the ILSA Executive Office's written permission to participate if the Official Rules require. For more information on eligibility,  please see the Jessup Official Rules at

Q: How many students can participate on a team?

A: Each university may have one team consisting of two to five students.

Q: How can my team register?

A: All teams must register with the ILSA Executive Office by completing the online Jessup Registration Form and paying the Registration Fee by the deadline specified in the Official Schedule. The on-line registration form can be found at Some teams must also register separately with their national administrator. To inquire if your team must register separately email the ILSA Executive Office at [email protected].

Q: When is the team registration deadline?

A: Information about the registration deadline and the Registration Fee can be found at

Q: What is a memorial?

A: Each team competing in the Jessup must prepare a legal brief (memorial) on behalf of the Applicant and the Respondent. Official Rule 6.0,, provides information on the format, content and submission of the Jessup memorials.

Q: When is the memorial deadline?

A: The memorial deadline is set by the Official Rules. Applicant and Respondent memorials must be submitted to the Regional/National Administrators by email and to the ILSA Executive Office via in accordance with the Official Rules. Regional and national competitions may have additional submission requirements and earlier deadlines so check with your Regional/National Administrator.

Q: What can I do if my university does not have many international law resources?

A: ILSA offers two batches of "basic materials" to help teams research the Competition Problem (Jessup Compromis) and prepare their written submissions (memorials) and oral arguments. These materials are available to all teams participating in the Competition, and may be accessed free of charge on the ILSA website. In addition to the basic materials, ILSA has arranged for access to the key research databases for all fully registered teams. A team may request a password to one or all of the research databases by sending an e-mail to [email protected]. ILSA also recommends various citation systems for use in identifying the sources of research in the memorials. Teams may also use the White & Case Jessup Guide to help prepare for the Jessup Competition.

Q: What is the White & Case Jessup Guide?

A: The White & Case Jessup Guide is the first-ever online, student-focused "how-to" manual containing recommendations on working with the Jessup Compromis, researching international law, writing Jessup memorials, Jessup oral pleadings and using Jessup skills in your legal career. It is available at We hope Jessup competitors and their coaches will find it to be a valuable resource for getting the most out of participating in the Jessup. If you have questions or comments about the Guide, please contact Elizabeth Black at [email protected].

Q: Who pays for team travel?

A: Each team is responsible for its travel expenses. Many teams obtain funding from their university administration, foundations, private companies and embassies.

Q: What is the official language of the Jessup?

A: The official language of the Jessup Competition is English. All memorials and oral pleadings must be in English, except under certain circumstances. A team may submit its memorials for a Regional or National Competition in a language other than English only if permitted by the Regional/National Rules Supplement. If this team advances to the White & Case International Rounds, the memorial must be translated into English and then submitted to the ILSA Executive Office. The Official Rules  provide more information on this exception ( A team may present its oral pleadings for a Regional/National Competition in a language other than English only if permitted by the Regional/National Rules Supplement. If a team wishes to present its oral pleadings in a language other than English at the White & Case International Rounds it must notify the ILSA Executive Director at least two weeks before the start of the White & Case International Rounds and must arrange and pay for an interpreter. The Official Rules  also provide more information on this exception (

Q: How can I get help in obtaining a visa to attend the White & Case International Rounds in Washington, DC?

A: The ILSA Executive Office will prepare a letter of invitation for those who need a visa to attend the White & Case International Rounds. These letters will be prepared only for individuals who are officially involved with the competition. To obtain a letter of invitation please submit your Jessup affiliation details, passport information, and school name in a timely manner to the ILSA Executive Office at [email protected].

Q: Who can coach a Jessup team?

A: Most teams are coached by a professor at their university. However, anyone can coach a team so long as they only provide general advice and support. Jessup coaches include private lawyers, diplomats, graduate students and former Jessup competitors. You may also be an "absentee" or "remote" coach and provide coaching assistance to teams in other countries. Please contact the ILSA Executive Office for more details.

Q: Who judges the Jessup?

A: The Jessup judge pool is made up of volunteers from different areas of the legal profession. The judges are private lawyers, professors, government officials, and real-life judges. ILSA determines the specific qualifications of judges.

Q: I don't practice international law and have never judged the Jessup before. Am I still qualified to judge?

A: Yes. You don't have to practice or work within the field of international law in order to judge the Jessup. ILSA provides a step-by-step guide to judging Jessup oral round rounds which includes general guidelines, a checklist for scoring oral arguments and instructions for new judges. The guide and a sample oral round scoresheet can be found at You may also refer to the Jessup Judge Training Guide at

Q: Is it still possible to judge the Jessup if I am unable to attend the Competition?

A: Yes. You can be a memorial judge and grade the memorials remotely. A guide to judging memorials and a sample scoresheet can be found at

Q: What other ways may I become involved with the Jessup?

A: Jessup Administrators are always looking for volunteers to help them with the competitions on-site. Depending on the competition, the administrator may want help recruiting judges and bailiffs or assistance with events planning and competition organization. Please contact the appropriate administrator for specific volunteer opportunities.

Q: Whom should I contact for more information?

A: For more information on the White & Case sponsored national competitions or Firm involvement with the Jessup, please contact Elizabeth Black, Senior Manager of Global Citizenship ([email protected]). For all other questions, go to the ILSA website ( or contact the appropriate competition administrator.


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