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Ohio Northern University shows strong showing in Jessup Competition

Mar 19, 2015

The Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law Jessup team advanced to the semifinals of the qualifying rounds of the 2015 Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition but fell short of its goal of qualifying for the international rounds.

ONU was represented by Ryan Phillips, a third-year law student from Saxonburg, Pa., Keely McWhorter, a second-year law student from East Bernstadt, Ky., Anne Mullhern, a second-year law student from LaRue, Ohio, and Joseph Reed, a second-year law student from McDonald, Ohio. In February, ONU Law’s Jessup team competed in the Midwest regional qualifying competition along with teams from 21 other law schools to earn the right to advance to the international rounds.

Despite falling short of qualifying for the international rounds, ONU garnered an award for the third-best memorial (brief) in the regional competition. Individually, Phillips placed fourth overall (out of more than 80 competitors) for best oral advocacy. All team members placed in the top third overall.

The team’s impressive showing at the competition began with ONU winning all four preliminary rounds and earning a No. 4 seed in a single-elimination style bracket, where the top two teams qualify for the international rounds. After winning the quarterfinal round, the team had a close but heartbreaking loss in the semifinals on a split decision. In advancing to the semifinals, the ONU Law Jessup Team made a strong showing, defeating teams from the University of Illinois, Indiana University - Bloomington, Chicago Kent, DePaul and Syracuse University.

Professor Brian Anderson, who served as the team coach, said, “ONU Law is very proud of this performance and congratulates these students on the fine achievement and strong representation of the research, writing and oral advocacy skills taught at ONU Law.”

The Jessup Competition is the world’s largest moot court competition, with participants from more than 550 law schools in more than 80 countries. The Competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations. One team is allowed to participate from every eligible school. Teams prepare oral and written pleadings arguing both the applicant and respondent positions of the case.

Thousands of law students from around the world worked on this year’s Jessup Problem, which focused on the procedural and substantive issues arising from the secession of one province of a nation and its annexation into another, somewhat mirroring the legal and political complexities of the situation between Russia and Crimea that unfolded in 2014.

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