The Harvard Law School World Trade Organization (WTO) moot court team won the North America regional competition at the European Law Students Association (ELSA) Moot Court Competition (EMC2) on WTO Law in March. This year’s competition was held March 1-5 at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia.

Winning team members Isabel Yang ’18 (team captain), Devony Schmidt ’19, Zachary Tan ’19, and Alex Kamath ’18, along with student coaches Ted Brackemyre ’17 and Jordan Movinski ’17 will now participate in the international final round, which will be held at the WTO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland in early June.

Harvard Law Professor Mark Wu ’96 said: “This year’s case, written by a senior counsellor in the WTO’s Legal Affairs Division, raised vexing questions about the relationship between WTO law and the growing body of free trade agreements involving developing countries.  The team worked tremendously hard to tackle these open-ended legal issues and developed an impressive set of arguments for both sides of the case.  The coaches also did a spectacular job, making sure that this team really came together.”  Wu, who specializes in international economics and trade law, has served as faculty adviser for the HLS WTO moot court team since 2011. Last April, Wu organized the decennial academic conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at HLS, bringing together scholars, government officials, legal practitioners, and representatives from around the world to discuss the present challenges facing the WTO and the future of trade. Both Brackemyre and Yang served as part of the student organizing committee for the conference.

The WTO moot is the world’s leading international trade law moot court competition and is sponsored by the European Law Students’ Association, an international, independent, non-political, and non-profit organization comprised of and run by and for law students and young lawyers. The event brings together students from law schools across the world to participate in simulated WTO dispute settlement hearings. Students first compete in one of five regional rounds around the world to qualify for the international finals.

The HLS team participated in the All-America Regional Rounds. In addition to the team’s overall victory, Kamath received the award for Best Oralist in the semi-final and final rounds, making this the fifth year that a Harvard student has earned top marks for oral presentation. The team’s success also marks the fifth time in six years that Harvard’s team has won the North American regional competition and advanced to the final round.