The University of Ottawa Willem C. Vis Moot team of James Plotkin (coach), Anna Katyk, Avery Ross, Rida Malik, and Quinn Giordano finished second out of 372 in Vienna at the world’s largest moot. A whopping 87 countries participated.
Led by Professor Anthony Daimsis, the uOttawa team spent the first four grueling days in general rounds, facing teams from South America, Europe, and the Middle East before the tournament was cut from 372 to 64 teams.
After the general rounds, the University of Ottawa was ranked in first place out of the original 372 teams that had participated. This speaks volumes to how well the mooting program’s methods are appreciated across a wide range of judges.
uOttawa was the only Canadian team to move on after general rounds, and notable misses included Harvard, Yale, Columbia, NYU, Kings College, and others.
Here is how the next few rounds played out:
Round of 64: uOttawa faced San Diego and came out on top by way of unanimous decision.
Round of 32: uOttawa was pitted against the ‘Harvard of Germany’, the University of Heidelberg, and won by unanimous decision.
Round of 16: uOttawa faced Central European University, and again prevailed with a unanimous decision.
Round of 8: uOttawa versus Stetson University resulted in another unanimous win for Ottawa.
The final four countries in play were Canada, USA, Russia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In the end, uOttawa finished second to Penn State in a split decision – a remarkable achievement that continues to cement Ottawa’s place as the top performer at the moot; in the past nine years uOttawa has been on the final stage five times and finished on top three times.
Ottawa left impressions in Vienna not only from a competitive standpoint, but also as a school that supports newcomers and others overcoming hurdles. In an ironic twist, after their win Penn State thanked the University of Ottawa for training them. The University of Ottawa was also acknowledged publicly by Lagos, who won the Spirit of the Moot award, for being the only team throughout the moot who practiced with them and gave them a sense of what to expect. Lagos received their visas to travel to Vienna the day before the moot started.
In addition to the second place finish, two uOttawa oralists won speaking prizes, and the Claimant memorial won an honourable mention.
While at the moot, Professor Daimsis gave a talk at the University of Vienna discussing a paper he wrote on how Heuristics rob us from understanding the law at deeper levels. This talk was part of a conference that brought together some of the top minds in international commercial law.
In total, 2,264 registered student participants representing more than 110 nationalities participated in the moot. Approximately 4,700 people were involved throughout, including students, coaches, arbitrators, readers and administrative staff.