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The University of Sydney Wins Jessup World Championship

White & Case Establishes a Distinguished Jessup Alumni Award

Global law firm White & Case LLP announced today that the University of Sydney, Australia won the White & Case Jessup Cup, the top prize of the 2021 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.

The winning team members from the University of Sydney include Robert Clarke and Sarah Purvis, who argued in the Championship Round, and Shruti Janakiraman, Jake Jerogin and Hae Soo Park. They faced a team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in the Championship Round on April 17. Jia Wei Bay, from NUS, was awarded Best Oralist of the round.

The teams argued before three sitting judges on the International Court of Justice: Peter Tomka of Slovakia, Xue Hanqin of China and Iwasawa Yuji of Japan.

The Championship Round is familiar ground for both teams—the University of Sydney has now won the Jessup Competition six times and NUS has won four times, making them the teams with the most wins in Jessup history. 

A team from Bhutan's first law school won the Best New Team Award, and law students from Spain and Myanmar were presented with Spirit of the Jessup Awards. 

Due to the COVID pandemic, this year's competition was entirely virtual. Teams usually must first compete in national and regional qualifying rounds before they can travel to Washington, DC to compete in the international rounds. But this year, in an historic first for the competition, all teams from around the world were invited to participate in the Global Rounds. Over six weeks of virtual competition, 574 teams competed in more than 2,000 matches accounting for over 3,000 hours of argument. More than 1,100 lawyers, law professors and judges served on Jessup benches.

"Although we were not able to come together in person, with this year's all-inclusive worldwide virtual rounds, we came together in a bigger and more connected way than the Jessup Competition has ever seen before – a testament to the extraordinary power of the Jessup community," said Hugh Verrier, White & Case Chair.  

Administered by the International Law Students Association (ILSA), the Jessup is the world's largest and oldest moot court competition.

Jessup teams are required to present oral and written arguments on a hypothetical international law case to a simulated International Court of Justice. This year's Jessup case addressed a global pandemic and the obligations and responses of States with respect to the outbreak. It also involved questions of the jurisdiction of the Court, a desperate claim for political asylum by an alleged rogue scientist, and State responsibility for a suspicious aircraft explosion. 

White & Case has been a Global Partner of the Jessup since 2007 and sponsor of the White & Case International Rounds since 2010.

As a way to celebrate and promote the Jessup and the students who participate, this year the Firm established the White & Case Distinguished Jessup Alumni Award. This award recognizes a Jessup veteran who is a visionary leader, with a commitment to international cooperation, the rule of law and the legal profession. The recipient of the 2021 Award is Brad Smith, President of Microsoft. View a video of Hugh Verrier presenting and Brad Smith accepting the Award.  

White & Case hosted three screenings of ALL RISE: Journeys to a Just World, a film made with support from the Firm. The award-winning, feature-length documentary film follows seven law students on their journey through the Jessup season. For more details on the film, and to view the trailer, please visit www.allrisemovie.com

During the Global Rounds, White & Case also organized a career panel where lawyers from eight offices spoke with Jessup students around the world about their Jessup experiences and how participating in the competition impacted their careers. 

For complete results of the 2021 Global Rounds, go to ILSA's website (www.ilsa.org).

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