Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court

The Phillip C. Jessup Moot Court Competition is the largest moot court competition in the world. Students from more than 80 countries compete each year in regional competitions for the distinction of proceeding to the International Rounds in Washington, D.C.

The Northwestern Jessup Moot Court team consists of five students selected in an intra-school competition held during the first year of law school. Students are asked to prepare a short brief and present an oral argument during this competition. The intra-school competition is a closed-book competition, i.e. no outside research is required. Students are selected based on their ability to clearly and persuasively communicate their arguments through their written brief and oral argument. Students selected for the Jessup team compete in the inter-school competition during their second year.

The team consists of two applicants, two respondents, and one to two alternates. After substantial research during the fall semester, the Jessup team prepares a brief addressed to the International Court of Justice based on the competition’s fact pattern (the Compromis). The team presents oral argument at the Regional Competition in February of the competition year. The team who wins the Regional Competition proceeds to the International Rounds in Washington, D.C., in March. The winner of the International Rounds wins the Jessup World Cup.

Jessup team members receive intensive training in both written and oral advocacy as they prepare for the Regional Competition. Students hone their research skills and learn to effectively communicate their arguments through a written brief. Before proceeding to Regionals, students participate in numerous oral practice rounds at the Law School, which are judged by former team members, law professors, and practicing attorneys. Participation on the Jessup team is also a three-year commitment: First-year students learn about the competition through observation of the oral practice rounds, second-year students compete in the inter-school competition, and third-year students serve as the Jessup Moot Court Board and organize the 1L competition.

Northwestern Law students have a long history of successful participation in the Jessup competition. Northwestern won the Jessup World Cup in 1979. Since then, teams have received brief and speaker awards at the Regional Competition nearly every year. The 1999 Jessup team won the Regional Competition, reached the International Quarterfinals, and placed first among all competing U.S. teams. The 2004-2005 team won the Regional Championship and competed in the International Rounds.

More information about the Phillip C. Jessup Moot Court Competition can be found at