Local Jessup team among top 16 in the world


Wayne Law Jessup team members (left to right) Chancellor Aaron Shuman, Layla Zarkesh, Nicole Pitchford, Emad Hamadeh and Adam Winnie, pose at the White and Case International Rounds of the Jessup Competition in Washington, D.C., where they became one of the top 16 teams in the world.

– Photo courtesy of Wayne Law

Wayne State University Law School's team is among the top 16 in the world and took home numerous honors after competing in the White and Case International Rounds of the Jessup Competition in Washington, D.C. April 1-7.

For the first time in history, Wayne Law's team advanced to the octo-finals of competition to become one of the top 16 teams in the world. They also took home the top prize in the category of Best Applicant Team.

Competitors were third-year students Nicole Pitchford of Royal Oak, Aaron Shuman of Royal Oak and Adam Winnie of Taylor, and second-year students Emad Hamadeh of Dearborn and Layla Zarkesh of Detroit. Professor Gregory H. Fox, director of Wayne Law's Program for International Legal Studies, is the team's faculty adviser.

Pitchford was the fourth best oralist overall, and the team earned the fifth best combined memorial scores and the second best applicant memorial award.

"This is an incredibly accomplished group of students. Their insight and work ethic are astonishing," said Fox. "It has been a great pleasure to serve as their faculty adviser during this record-breaking year."

The team qualified for the international rounds in February at the U.S. Midwest Regional where they went undefeated and swept the top three oralist awards, ultimately winning the competition for the fifth time in the past six years.

In its 59th year, the Jessup Competition is the world's largest moot court competition with participants from more than 645 law schools representing 95 countries.

For the Jessup Competition, the International Law Students Association creates and releases a special agreement each fall that outlines the issues and facts behind a complex, hypothetical international legal dispute before the International Court of Justice (World Court). Wayne Law Jessup members research, write and submit memorials and prepare for the regional competition by participating in various moot arguments in front of faculty and practicing attorneys around the metro Detroit area.

This year's Jessup problem concerned the validity of interstate arbitral awards, the capture of a marine vessel, the breach of nuclear disarmament obligations and the conduct of naval warfare.