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Thomas Jefferson School of Law Students Compete in the Jessup International Moot Court Competition

April 5, 2016

From February 25th to February 28th, the Thomas Jefferson School of Law Moot Court Honor Society participated in the 57th annual Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, Pacific regional in Portland, Oregon.  

The Jessup Competition is the world’s largest moot court competition and is widely considered to be the most difficult.  Teams from over 550 law schools in more than 80 countries participate, submitting briefs and arguing complex issues of international law in a dispute between two fictional countries before the International Court of Justice.  The Jessup Competition takes place over a period of more than six months, beginning with the release of the problem in September.  

Representing Thomas Jefferson School of Law in this year’s competition were Joel Garcia (2L), Christina Gonzalez (3L) Amanda Gracia (3L), Cecelia Reynoso (3L) and Travis Strachota (2L), together with adjunct professor and former Jessup competitor Jesse Allen. 

“Each year the Jessup competition deals with highly relevant and evolving issues in the international legal realm, and presents our student competitors with a challenge unlike any other in law school,” said team advisor Jesse Allen.  

Participating students are provided with an annual Compromis, the Jessup problem, referencing international law treaties, conventions, and what at first seems like a myriad of issues. The issues presented this year included the legality of mass surveillance programs, the prolonged detention of a suspected terrorist, and the use of cyber attacks.

“This year our competitors rose to the challenge and delivered outstanding performances, displaying a mastery of the subject matter before panels of international law experts,” Professor Allen said.  

Included among the judges for Thomas Jefferson School of Law competitors was the author of the problem himself, a former state intelligence analyst and lecturer at The Hague Academy of International Law and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). 

“Competing in Jessup this year was one of the most challenging things I’ve done in law school, but it was gratifying matching up against great participants from other law schools. This was easily my favorite law school experience,” said 3L competitor Amanda Gracia. 

“This experience was truly rewarding and inspiring. We all felt inspired to help next year’s Thomas Jefferson School of Law team make it to Washington D.C., where the international rounds are held,” said 3L competitor Christina Gonzalez.  

After diligently researching and writing extensive briefs on both sides of the issues presented, Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s competitors began regular practice for the oral rounds, culminating in four 90-minute oral arguments before panels of critical international law judges, simulating the International Court of Justice.  The Thomas Jefferson School of Law team faced stiff competition, including the University of Hawaii (ranked #1 overall), UC – Irvine (#6), and the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.  The Thomas Jefferson School of Law competitors concluded with a victory over the University of San Diego (ranked #3), and received praise from the judges on their knowledge of the law and oral advocacy skills.   

For those interested in competing in next year’s Jessup International Law Competition, contact members of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law Moot Court Honor Society at or Professor Jesse Allen at