KU law students place among top five oral advocates in international trade law moot court

LAWRENCE — Continuing an impressive streak of performances, KU Law advanced a team to the semifinals of the European Law Students’ Association Moot Court Competition in Washington, D.C.

From March 1-3, the team of third-year law students Colin Baumchen, Samantha Clark, Lauren Douville and Scott Wheeler faced teams from across the Western Hemisphere. In reaching the semifinals, they beat out all of the teams from Latin America, Duke and several Canadian squads. Although they lost to eventual champ Harvard, Baumchen was named second-best oral advocate in the competition, and Clark was named fifth-best. KU was the only school to place two students among the top five oralists.

“Despite the incredible amount of work – or maybe because of it – this competition provided a fantastic experience to test all of the skills we have learned at KU Law,” Baumchen said. “I would recommend moot court to any students who are fortunate enough to have the opportunity.”

The annual competition took place at American University Washington College of Law. The ELSA Moot Court Competition is a simulated hearing of the World Trade Organization dispute settlement system, open to teams from around the globe. ELSA is the world's largest independent law student association.

“We spent hours studying WTO law and learning how the International Trade Dispute Resolution Process works,” Clark said. “This competition is done in a different style as a simulation of an actual WTO proceeding, and the judges, called panelists, were real trade law experts from many different countries, which made this competition very unique.”

A former appellate body member and International Trade Commissioner, Jennifer A. Hillman, heard oral submissions from the KU Law team twice. She made a point of specifically congratulating the students on their impressive performance at the gala event after the competition.  

“The team did an outstanding job and reflected the world-class intellectual legal talent we have at KU Law, behaving with the utmost integrity,” said Raj Bhala, Rice Distinguished Professor of Law and the team’s coach.

Participation in the ELSA Moot Court Competition has become an important component in the KU School of Law’s International and Comparative Law Program, along with the International Environmental Law Moot Court Competition and the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. Earlier this year, law students Jill Moenius and Eddie Penner reached the final eight of the National Moot Court Competition in New York.