The University of Virginia School of Law is one of 12 U.S. law schools from a field of 120 to advance to the International Rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court competition, to be held in Washington, D.C., April 1-7.

The student team consists of captain Lauren Sandground ’18 and first-time Jessup competitors Michael Gee ’19, Isabelle Lelogeais ’20, Shannon McGowan ’20 and Jessie Michelin ’19. They are coached by Megan Strand ’08, a former Jessup competitor.

UVA Law finished No. 2 in the Mid-Atlantic regional competition on Friday and Saturday — besting law school competitors from Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown and other schools.

“The UVA team has been one win away from International Rounds for the past two seasons, and this year the drought has ended,” Sandground said. “I am incredibly proud of and inspired by the other members of the team, who are all competing in their first season. Going to International Rounds is a testament to their dedication to research and refine complex arguments.”

Sandground said the team drew on the expertise of faculty and alumni to grapple with questions on handling a rogue state like North Korea, undersea research drones, and adhering to the Geneva Conventions.

This will be UVA’s 11th appearance at the International Rounds since the competition began and the sixth in the past 11 years. The students will face teams from 95 countries, drawn from more than 645 law schools worldwide.

Strand said the collegial culture at UVA, as well as the school’s network of interested faculty and alumni, contributed to the win.

“This outcome reflects a long tradition of Jessup at the Law School,” Strand said. “In particular, the depth and breadth of faculty, administration and alumni support are all key components of the program’s success.”

Each team member has to not only master the complex legal issues addressed in competition’s problem, but to “effectively articulate their respective positions — which is critical not just in the moot court context, but in the practice of law as well.”

Not only is Jessup the largest moot court competition in the world, but it also has historic ties to UVA Law. The competition was co-founded by members of the John Bassett Moore Society of International Law almost 60 years ago, and one of the best brief awards is named in honor of former Dean Hardy Cross Dillard, a 1927 graduate of the Law School. Dillard, who retired from the Law School in 1968, became a judge on the International Court of Justice at The Hague, where he served until 1979.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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