by Elena Eminova
On 17-18 March 2012 the Law Faculty of Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU) hosted the Third Moscow Pre-Moot – the preliminary rounds for the 19th Willem C. Vis Commercial Arbitration Moot.
The preliminary rounds, also called pre-moots, are run annually prior to the Vienna Moot by the biggest law schools of the world (the University of Paris, Warsaw, Munich, Düsseldorf, Prague, New York, Hong Kong, etc.). In 2012 the MSU Law Faculty for the third time organized the biggest pre-moot in Europe, which proved to be very successful.
Taking part in pre-moots is a key to successful performance in Vienna, which is why teams from different countries are willing to participate. This year MSU was happy to welcome 14 teams. Among them were Russian teams: Russian Foreign Trade Academy (VAVT), Higher School of Economics (HSE), Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), Perm State University, Russian Academy of Justice (RAJ), Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, and Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU); as well as teams from foreign countries: Belarusian State University (Belarus), University of Frankfurt (Germany), Justus-Liebig University (Germany), Marmara University (Turkey), University of Bonn (Germany), University of Geneva (Switzerland), and University of Passau (Germany).
Practitioners, representatives of the academic and arbitration community and former participants were invited to arbitrate the Moscow Pre-Moot. Among them were representatives of the MSU Law Faculty, the Supreme Commercial Court of the Russian Federation, the Russian School of Private Law, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation; partners and lawyers from law firms Monastyrsky, Zyuba, Stepanov & Partners, Noerr LLP, White & Case LLP, Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners, Norton Rose, Herbert Smith LLP, Baker Botts LLP, Gorodissky and Partners, Clifford Chance LLP, Dewey & LeBoeuf, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, LLP, Baker & McKenzie, CMS, FBK Legal, Nektorov, Saveliev and Partners; and lawyers from legal departments of UBS and Volvo.
More than 200 people took part in the Moscow Pre-Moot which demonstrates its growing popularity among students and lawyers from different countries.
The oral rounds were preceded by a discussion on Corruption Allegations in International Commercial Arbitration. The discussion was organized by Law Faculty especially for the participants of the Moscow Pre-Moot and considered the issues raised by the organizers of the Willem C. Vis Moot. The discussion took place on 16 March 2012 at the Moscow office of White & Case LLP. The guest speakers were the Vice-President of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, partner at Baker & McKenzie Vladimir Khvalei, partner at White & Case David Goldberg, Professor Antonio Crivellaro from University of Padua, and a senior associate at Herbert Smith Francesca Albert. This event provided the participants with a unique opportunity to discuss with experts the issues of this year’s Willem C. Vis problem and strengthen their legal arguments.
During the following two days (17 and 18 March) each team pleaded in at least four rounds: twice as claimant and twice as respondent. The three top teams following the oral rounds were: 1st – the team of the University of Passau, 2nd – the team of Moscow State University, and 3rd – the team of the University of Bonn. Awards were also presented to the three best oralists: 1st – Philipp Schwarz (the University of Passau), 2nd – Markus Lieberknecht (the University of Passau), and 3rd – Sergey Korolev (MGIMO). The best teams and oralists were selected on the basis of the average score in all rounds.
Organizing the Moscow Pre-Moot became possible by invaluable support of the Vice Dean for scientific work, Professor N.V. Kozlova and the members of the scientific department O.A. Lisitcina and S.A. Aleksandrova. The Third Moscow Pre-Moot was held thanks to the enormous efforts of MSU team coaches: postgraduate student of the Civil Law Department of MSU Olesya Petrol and Candidate of Legal Science Aleksander Yagelnitskiy. They were assisted by the 1st year postgraduate student Yana Ivanova, 3rd year student Daria Levina, 4th year student Ays Lidzhanova, and MSU team members: Varvara Aryutina (4th year student), Sergey Avakyan (3rd year student), Elena Eminova (4th year student), Andrey Gromov (4th year student), and Bilya Lokova (5th year student).
The following students of MSU helped greatly at the Moscow Pre-Moot: Saglara Aduchinova, Igor Alenkin, Dmitriy Anishenko, Bogdan Gusev, Svetlana Elizarova, Sofia Koval, Margarita Makarova, Elena Manasyan, Maria Marycheva, Olga Narkaeva, Olga Nasonova, Ekaterina Neklyudova, Artur Rozenfeld, Natalya Sekretareva, Polina Secheneva, Ekaterina Soboleva, Nikolay Sokolov, Aleksandra Sofronova, Darya Filchenkova, Aleksey Khnalkov and Galina Shkarutina.
Successful organization of the Third Moscow Pre-Moot was made possible only thanks to the financial and organizational support from the MSU Law Faculty and the sponsors: law firms White & Case LLP (and personally Hermann Schmitt, Arina Stolyarova, Olga Pryanichnikova, and Polina Likhacheva) and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, LLP (and personally Scott Senecal and Yuri Babichev).
For Russian and foreign teams the Moscow Pre-Moot is a chance to prepare for their pleadings in Vienna, for instance, to identify the weaknesses in arguments and sharpen strong arguments, to improve presentation skills, to be convincing, and to deal with complicated questions from the arbitrators. The Moscow Pre-Moot, held in form of a moot court, is a unique ground for discussing the issues of the international commercial arbitration with Russian and foreign experts in this field and with students. Moreover, students who take part in the Moscow Pre-Moot have a great opportunity to meet (and impress!) potential employers.