Michigan Law Among Top US Teams at Vis Moot

U-M’s Vis Moot team included Matt Azzopardi, Hannah Juge, Jessica Carter, and Steven Tennison (back row, from left), as well as Tyler Loveall and Cheyenne Kleinberg (front row, from left).

A team of six Michigan Law students argued their way to the Round of 64 at the 29th Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot earlier this year, the first time a U-M team has made it that far. It was one of only six US teams to compete in the Round of 64, from an initial field of 365 teams worldwide.

The prestigious competition—held in Vienna, Austria, and the largest arbitration moot in the world—involves a problem of international commercial law. This year’s problem focused on a contract dispute between two parties over the sale of sustainable palm oil for the production of biofuel. The 2022 competition was conducted in a hybrid format, with most teams participating remotely.

Four researchers, Matt Azzopardi, Jessica Carter, Hannah Juge, and Steven Tennison—who were then all 1L students—started their research on the problem in October 2021 and finished in January, when the briefs were due. At that point, Tyler Loveall and Cheyenne Kleinberg (then 2Ls), the team’s oralists, began to prepare and practice. Loveall went on to receive an honorable mention for best individual oralist.

“At no point did [Kleinberg or I] hear an argument that was new, that we hadn’t already thought of six months ago,” says Loveall. “In terms of actual research and substantive arguments, I think the team as a whole laid the groundwork.”