Georgia State University College of Law's Moot Court team placed third in the U.S. South Regional qualifying round of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. The all female team of Lynette Jimenez (J.D. '14), Leanna Jordan (J.D. '13), Katie Ginnane (J.D. '13) and Autumn Turner (J.D. '13), competed against Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, Tulane and Mercer at the event March 1-2 in New Orleans
"In every sense of the word, this was a team win," said Jimenez, who won third best oralist, complementing the team's fifth-place finish in brief writing. "It was a culmination of the tireless work and dedication of each of the women on our team."
In fact the Georgia State Law team developed a reputation at the competition for being strong, intelligent and opinionated women. "Our competitors even suggested we could add one more woman if that were possible. We responded, no problem, we have them in reserve," Jordan said.
The competition is billed as the world's largest with more than 550 law schools in more than 80 countries participating. Top finishers Washington University of St. Louis and Stetson University advanced to the national competition.
The case is a fictional dispute between countries before the United Nations' judicial arm, the International Court of Justice, or World Court. This year's simulation involved refugees displaced by environmental change.
"There is almost no limit," Jimenez said, "to the sources of law you can consider – domestic, regional and international court opinions; domestic, regional and international custom or practice; bilateral and multilateral treaties, declarations and resolutions; international legal scholarship.
"You can't know everything, but the more you know, the better prepared you are," Jimenez said. "That's particularly important when you have judges from around the world."
All four Georgia State team members were acknowledged for oral arguments, placing among the top 40. They cited the help of Brett Williams (J.D. '12), William Alexander (J.D. '12) and Benjamin Keck (J.D. '12), who assisted them with preparing.
"These dedicated alumni provided each competitor with feedback, and we were humbled by the willingness of classmates, colleagues and professors to bench for us," said Michelle Williams (J.D. '13), team coach and also praised the prep work of professor Jonathan Todres and librarian Deborah Schander.
"Our presiding judge in a preliminary round and the quarterfinals was an attorney flown in from Russia who worked for the European Court of Human Rights," Jimenez said. "She doesn't just know international law in an academic vacuum, she has lived it. I was so proud that our team's research and preparation allowed us to engage the material and answer her challenging questions thoughtfully and articulately."
The competition is named after Philip C. Jessup, the U.S. representative to the International Court of Justice who was elected by the U.N. in 1961 to serve a nine-year term.