March Madness: CWRU’s Jessup International Law Moot Court team wins National Competition

Jessup Team at their recent national competition, holding the first place trophy

The law school’s Jessup International Law Moot Court team (composed of Elise Manchester, Will Baker, Ellie Buerk, Brianna Schmidt and Naomi Matthusen) took 1st place at the National Competition held on Feb. 29—March 3, 2024 in Portland, Oregon, earning a berth in the International Rounds in D.C. in April. The Case Western Reserve team also won the award for the 2nd best brief. Brianna Schmidt won the 2nd best speaker award, Will Baker won the 7th best speaker award and Ellie Buerk won the 11th best speaker award out of 144 speakers from 36 law schools. 

Established 60 years ago by the International Law Students Association, the Philip C. Jessup Competition is the oldest and most prestigious international law moot court in the world. This year, instead of six regionals, the International Law Students Association held two simultaneous national Jessup tournaments — in Portland and New Orleans. In Portland, the Case Western Reserve team went undefeated in the preliminary rounds, beating Louisiana State, Mitchell Hamline, Washburn and University of Texas. They went on to defeat California Western in the Sweet Sixteen, UC Berkeley in the Elite Eight and Temple in the Final Four. They then beat Washington University in the finals for the National Championship (West Super Regional).

This is the sixth year in a row that the Case Western Reserve team has made it to the Jessup International Rounds, where last year they ranked second best in the world after the preliminary rounds, won the third best brief award and Elise Manchester won the best overall speaker award. Case Western Reserve won the Jessup World Championship in 2008, making it just one of two U.S. law schools to win (the other is Harvard) the prestigious Jessup Cup in the past twenty years. 

The Case Western Reserve Jessup team is coached by Co-Dean Michael Scharf and alumna Liz Safier of Squire Patton Boggs. Several faculty and alumni benched 18 practice rounds leading to the competition. This year’s problem involves a dispute between two fictional countries concerning the deprivation of nationality of environmental protesters, the refusal to permit a Security-Council-appointed expert to meet with the protesters, and the non-recognition of purchased citizenship.

Congratulations to the Jessup team, its co-coaches and the faculty and alumni who assisted in their preparation!