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Isabella Cannatà: My Jessup adventure


Dear everyone,


My name is Isabella and I am, first of all, a Jessuper. Secondly, I am a recent graduate from the University of Torino, Italy, and I am now doing an internship in an international law firm in Paris. I will briefly describe my experience in the Philip C. Jessup Moot Court Competition, hoping that these few lines will be able to motivate those of you who are not yet sure whether to participate or not. Jessup is a unique moment of study, of challenge and growth, but it is also an experience of friendship and shared passion. Being in Jessup will surely make you CV look more interesting, but most of all, I believe it will make your life happier.


My own Jessup adventure started on the 5th of October 2011, when I was selected to be part of my University 2012 Jessup team. Our experience was very successful: we won the national rounds and went to Washington, where we achieved a somehow bitter but very rewarding 34th place. In 2013, I coached the new team from my University: this was a very challenging task and an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Lastly, this year I was a judge at the Spanish national rounds and at a European Friendly match: both were great occasions to be surrounded by the Jessup vibe once again.


I will now try to briefly summarize how the team preparation works, based on my own experience, in the hope to provide answers to the questions of those of you who have not yet taken part to the Jessup. First of all, you must know that the effort behind the preparation for Jessup national rounds is great and that it usually leaves teams with very little time for other activities, exams included. There is no way out of it: the Jessup problem is difficult and you need to study a lot. Also, you need to learn how to actually shape a legal argument, and you usually have to deal with reading and writing in a foreign language. This will require a lot of time and a great deal of concentration, but… it won’t make the experience less pleasant. To be honest, I only have nice memories of my Jessup preparation. In spite of the strain, my teammates and I had a lot of fun: we were living in the fictional world of Rantania and Aprophe and sharing an effort that created the closest bonds of friendship between us. I encourage you not to be scared by how demanding the preparation seems: I can assure you that you won’t regret any minute of it.

Jessup team 2012 lost between Rantania and Aprophe

As for the actual organization of the team training, that each University has its own methods and patterns. In mine, coaching the Jessup team is conceived as a collective effort that involves many people. We call ourselves “the Jessup family”: one or two researchers are the reference coaches, who select the team members and help them shape their legal arguments. The ex-Jessupers from the previous years help the team in drafting their memorials and in rehearsing their oral pleadings. During the preparation of the oral submissions, everyone dedicates a bit of time to the team, and usually the pleadings are rehearsed three times per week in front of ex-Jessupers and coaches. Close to the date of the national rounds, the coaches organise one or two pleadings in law firms, in front of lawyers that volunteer to judge the oralists.


The final aim of all the effort are, of course, the international rounds: doesn’t matter in what mood you live it, the week in Washington is a whirlwind of pleadings and parties, in a wonderful spirit of international friendship. However, I believe that what makes the Jessup special is the whole journey, starting from the very beginning and long after its end. Thinking back, I believe that the mere experience of going through the team selection changed my attitude towards law studies. Before then, I had only read books and codes: the Jessup team selection was the first time I actually used law as a lawyer does. Also, all the study behind the preparation for the national rounds is what makes the difference today: when I confront complicated researches, difficult writing tasks or stressful speeches in front of many people, I always rely on something that Jessup taught me.


Finally, I am realizing in time that the Jessup spirit lives long after the competition is over. To explain what I mean by this, I will use a short anecdote. Some time ago, at a one-week student program in Switzerland, I found out by chance that the girl I was chatting with took part to Jessup too. We shared stories and pictures for the whole evening and it felt as if I had just recognized an old friend. The Jessup background somehow erased all the distance between Italy and Taiwan, uniting two students in the passion for this unique experience. I hope that many of you will live such great moments. Don’t miss your chance to be part of the Jessup and… enjoy the journey.






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