What an Amazing Week!

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Good evening, readers!

After a 16-hour flight from Mumbai to Newark, followed by a rush through customs and the flight back from Newark to Chicago, our team arrived home around noon. All of us were exhausted, even after trying to get as much sleep as possible during our flights. Despite how jet-lagged I am and how much homework there is to stay busy with, I still cannot get over what an amazing time we had in India!

Every person at the D.M. Harish Competition was incredibly kind, gracious and hospitable. We were asked so many different times if we were enjoying Mumbai and if our accommodations were sufficient. It is amazing how a group of students, all around 18 or 19, ran an entirely flawless and fun moot court competition! We made so many new friends from around the world that I’m sure we will keep in touch with. It was not even so much of a competition as it was a camaraderie of law students, a unique instance of how moot competitions can bring everyone together if done well.

I could not have asked for a better week or stay in India. The few precious hours we were able to go out and sightsee (and shop!) were absolutely gorgeous. India is a beautiful country and a beautiful culture. I will always look back on this trip as a fond memory and the opportunity of a lifetime for which I couldn’t be more grateful.

Before we left, the competition organizers stressed how much they hope to see us back next year, and were sure to let us know that Valparaiso Law has a special place within the competition. It is incredible to be part of an organization that has an impact and honorable reputation around the world. With that, I leave you with some pictures of our trip. (Unfortunately, I did not get many – we were so busy!) Until Harish 2015, thank you so much for following along with our journey, readers!

Signing off from Valpo,

Julie

 

 

 

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Final Rounds, Goodbyes, and Seeing Mumbai

Sunday, February 10th, 2014

Greetings!

Because Justin and I unfortunately didn’t move on to the semi-final rounds, we were at least able to go out as a team and explore Mumbai today. We spent the morning with our friends from the U.S., England and Poland and made plans to take a cab ride all around Mumbai to see the slums and different provinces. It was a very eye-opening experience, as we saw a type of life that all of us aren’t exactly used to. Seeing the entire city was incredible. It is so diverse and full of life absolutely everywhere you look. I have some great pictures that I will be uploading once I have a stable internet connection back in the states!

Our team decided to split from the group and go for a walk along the bay during the afternoon. We walked more than a mile, I would say, and there were plenty of people spending time in the sun. We even were asked to take a picture with a couple of Indian boys, which has not been a rare occurrence here. The rest of the group headed to the large art show going on in a different part of town, while I headed back to the hotel to take a nap.

Later in the afternoon, it was time for the final round of competition. Team Q, the team that beat us in the quarter-final round, was up against Team P for the finals. We rooted for Team Q – and they won! It is at least a little bit of solace that we were barely beat in the quarter-finals by the team that won the whole competition. Individual awards were given, and while we didn’t get any formal recognition for it, we received all of our score sheets, and Justin and I both scored in the top 10 speakers of the competition! I was ranked 7th overall, while Justin was ranked 9th overall. We were the only team that was not in the final round that did so! We had a tasty dinner afterwards, and then headed to the After-Moot party!

The team rented out an entire section of a club here, Liv, for the group to enjoy for the evening. It was an amazing time! All of us spent time dancing the night away, and even a large group of us hung out afterwards. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to a lot of the friends that we made from around the world. I can’t believe this amazing weekend has come to an end!

I will write again when I’ve arrived back in the states with my final impressions of the trip! I can’t wait to tell you all about it. See you at school soon!

Julie

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A Busy Day 2

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

Hello, readers!

Wow, has today been a busy day. We started out this morning with our two octo-finals rounds, both against Indian teams. The first team we mooted against, Team J, was very good, and beat us by a small, nine-point margin. It was a tough matchup and the judges had some good questions.

Immediately following, we faced our second matchup against Team A. We were in a room we hadn’t yet competed in that was directly next to the round and with the podium far away from the judges. We had to really project our voices to be heard over the sounds of traffic, and had to lean in close to understand the judges. We were happy to find that we won the round, and moved into the next seeding with a 1-1 record for the round. We were aware there was a chance we could be out, depending on how many of the other 16 teams were 1-1, and their scores.

Results were announced, and we found out we had barely scraped in to the top 8 at the 8th seed! We were very thankful to be in, as we were the only non-Indian team left in the entire competition. Being 8th seed meant we would next be facing the 1st seed, Team Q. Team J informed us that Team Q had beat them in their second octo-final round, so we knew we were in for a touch matchup. Although we were already exhausted at this point, we didn’t have time to go back to the hotel, so Justin and I stayed at the college and reworked our arguments with some comments we had received from previous judges. Our new arguments looked great, and we looked forward to going in to the next round with confidence.

As respondents, we were up after Team Q had already performed. Their round took a little longer than anticipated, so Justin and I were a little nervous by the time it was our turn. Unfortunately, we were in the same courtroom next to the road as earlier, and as soon as I started speaking and attempting to project my voice, I had a coughing fit. I thankfully stuck through it although my voice was cracking at times. I didn’t feel great when I sat down, but Justin got up to speak and had an amazing round! His new draft of his argument was really great, and you could tell the judges agreed with a lot of what he said.

The judges deliberated for over 20 minutes. It felt like the longest waiting period of my life. When the results were in, the judges prefaced the results by telling us how tough of a decision it was and how incredible both teams had performed. Our hearts obviously sank, quite a lot, when Team Q was announced the winner. We later found out that they won by a margin of only 13 points. While Justin and I were obviously incredibly disappointed, we knew we had absolutely worked as hard as we could and performed our absolute best.

Immediately after the rounds, the entire group headed to The Village – a traditional Indian restaurant with foods from all over the country. There was dancing, henna tattoos, palm reading and more! It was nice to relax and have some fun after a disappointing loss. We danced until the restaurant closed, and headed home for a good night’s sleep. Despite the loss, we are so proud of our performance and await to see where we ranked from 5th to 8th place, and for our individual speaker ranks. Thank you all for your support of us in this competition! We are so grateful for all the love that has been shown for our team this year.

Talk to you soon!

Julie

 

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Results After Day 1

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Hi, readers!

I am happy to report that I did get a few hours of sleep after I last wrote, and even got a nice nap this afternoon! As a team, we are somehow adjusting pretty well to this completely different time zone.

Our first preliminary round was bright and early this morning, and we were the Applicant against an Indian team. They seemed young, but knew their arguments well. We were excited when the judges announced that we were the winners of the round! We then took the time to go on the trust visit, which allowed us to meet the Harish family, the namesake of the competition. Their law offices were very nice and we were able to see a great view of the bay and the city skyline on the bus ride there. We then enjoyed a nice lunch of India’s take on Mexican food – it was so good! It tasted very similar to the Mexican food that can be enjoyed in Valpo, except it was much more flavorful. We moved on to our second preliminary round against a team from Sussex in the U.K. We had spent time talking to them earlier today and they were so nice. We were the Respondent that round, and were again happy to be declared the winners! The English team was very congratulatory and we were even able to introduce them to Twizzlers, which they had never tried before :) Dinner was provided on Government Law College’s outdoor terrace, which was really nice. The weather, of course, has been absolutely beautiful, so it was a perfect time to be outside. The food was great, once again.

After dinner, the first round of results were announced. I am happy to say that we are ranked 4th going into the octo-final rounds tomorrow! The three teams ahead of us are all Indian teams. There are actually only three non-Indian teams left in the competition – us, a team from the U.K., and a team from Kenya. We are really excited and looking forward to tomorrow. We got some good feedback today, as well as some hard questions that will help us with our arguments moving forward. We face two Indian teams in back-to-back octo-final rounds tomorrow, and thankfully we drew both an Applicant and a Respondent, so we will get to argue both sides.

One of the organizers of the competition approached us after results were announced and said that we were “legends” for arriving a few hours before the competition, running on no sleep, dealing with jet lag/travel problems/time changes, and still having a successful day nonetheless! Obviously this was a great compliment, and I know we all sincerely hope this will continue as the weekend progresses.

Time to get some shut eye for another early round of competition tomorrow. Talk to you soon!

Julie

 

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HELLO from Mumbai!

Early morning (Mumbai time), Friday, February 7th, 2014

Greetings from Mumbai!

Our rescheduled direct flight from Newark made it in a few hours ago. We are checked into the hotel and are preparing for our first round of competition, in a mere six hours. Thankfully we all slept on the plane, so we will have some time to prepare tonight if need be.

Please think of us as we go into preliminary rounds in the morning! I will update all of you after we get through tomorrow :)

Julie

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A Change in Plans

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Hello, readers,

While our intention was to be safely in Mumbai at this very moment, Mother Nature had other plans. We had no issues with our afternoon flight to Newark yesterday, and we were safely boarded and seated for our flight to Mumbai yesterday evening. However, it was evident when the plane turned on its engine, something was not right. After moving away from the gate, we were told by the pilot that we would be returning to the gate for a mechanical error. This was a huge concern, as we heard around the airport that evening that United was canceling all flights past 8:00 p.m. due to the impending snowstorm.

We returned to our gate and were not given much information over the next two and a half hours, until a flight attendant finally came on and made an announcement that our flight was cancelled. Obviously, this was hard to hear, as we knew that we would be very likely to miss part of the competition because of the cancellation. United set us up with a hotel near the airport for the night, and a flight scheduled out of New York’s JFK airport for this afternoon.

Due to a (rather large) bagging snafu on United’s part, we realized there was no way we would make our afternoon flight at JFK. United worked with us to get us on the same time of flight tonight that we were originally supposed to take last night. Thankfully, the organizers of the Harish competition were flexible and are allowing us to miss the day of orientation events due to these unforeseen circumstances. Our flight tonight will get us in late Thursday night, allowing us to be there for the first round of competition Friday morning. We could use some fingers crossed, prayers and all around well-wishes to ensure this all goes as planned! Along with that, I know all of us could use some extra sleep right now as well :) Hopefully, the next location I will be writing from will be Mumbai! Until then, take care and stay warm in the cold and snowy Valpo weather.

Julie

 

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TOMORROW!

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Greetings, readers!

Tomorrow is the big day, I can’t believe it! After months of preparation and hard work, we will finally be departing for Mumbai in the morning. We will take a quick flight to Newark and then take a direct flight from Newark to Mumbai, which will take a little over 15 hours.

I am currently in the process of checking my suitcase several times, just to make sure everything is ready to go. Justin and I spent time today printing off all of the papers and sources that we need to bring with us. All of these little things we need to accomplish before we leave are adding up to one big trip!

I am really looking forward to meeting our fellow competitors and making new friends from law schools around the world. Until then, I had better finish up packing and preparing for tomorrow. Next time I write, it will be from the other side of the world! To our friends, family, classmates and professors that are following along with our journey – thank you, and we hope to bring home a trophy and some sunshine for you upon our return!

Julie

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What We’ve Been Working On

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Hello, readers!

I thought I would write a quick entry on what exactly it is that Justin and I have been working on over the past few months. This year’s Harish Case Study has proven to be very engaging, and has given us a wide variety of facts and legal arguments to make of them.

Traditionally, the Harish Case Study for each competition year focuses almost entirely on international taxation issues, as the founder of the competition was a leader in income tax law in India. However, this year’s competition problem is more similar to those written for competitions in the United States, actually, and centers on four main areas of international law: international law of war, international criminal jurisdiction, international investment and tax law, and international environmental law.

Because we have such a wide range of issues, Justin and I have spent a lot of time familiarizing ourselves with areas of law in which we did not have much previous experience. International law is a really interesting topic to study because it provides you with a new perspective on how the United States interacts with other states and fulfills its duties as a member of the international community.

I can’t believe we are just four days away from departure! There is so much to pack before then.

Talk to you soon -

Julie

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Practice Makes Perfect

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Hello everyone!

My name is Julie Johnson, I am a 2L student and I am fortunate enough to be a part of Valparaiso Law’s International Moot Court Society (IMC). Next Tuesday, I will be traveling to Mumbai, India, with my teammate, Justin Ezell; our coach, Richard Bogdan; and Valpo Law’s Director of Graduate and International Programs, Julie Foster. Justin and I will be competing in the 15th Annual D.M. Harish Memorial Government Law College International Moot Court Competition. Last year, Valpo Law’s team went undefeated and claimed the first place trophy and the award of Best Oralist. This year, Justin and I hope to do the same!

Our team started working together in the middle of October, after our annual intraschool competition. We spent our first two months together working through the case study as a team, in order to ensure that we had a strong understanding of the facts and the legal issues presented. Justin and I each spent our Christmas break working on a separate legal brief, as each of us wrote the entirety of one state’s arguments. This was very time-consuming, as our briefs came out at around 40 pages each. Additionally, researching and writing for international law is quite different than it is for domestic law, as international law is not as plentiful and is not as readily available as domestic law.

Since we returned from Christmas break, we have been practicing our oral arguments daily. Richard, as our coach, poses questions to us throughout our presentations, which is what we can expect from our judges at competition. Because each competitor is required to argue for each state before the court, we have fully delved into the facts and law in order to strongly advocate for both parties. This evening was our “send-off” moot, a requirement for each IMC team shortly before it leaves for competition. Dean Stuart and Professors Murray and Telman were gracious enough to act as our panel of judges tonight, and gave us constructive feedback at the conclusion. Having an assortment of team members and others outside the organization to act as judges has given us the opportunity to be presented with a wide variety of questions and opinions, which has been greatly beneficial to our own understanding of our arguments.

We will continue to practice on a daily basis until our departure on Tuesday, along with packing and preparing for the “vacation” aspect of the trip! All of us are looking forward to seeing Mumbai and being embraced as a part of the Indian culture during our stay. We have heard many wonderful things about the hospitality of the organizers of the competition, and are truly expecting a one-of-a-kind experience. I will be sure to update this blog frequently to give you an idea of our final preparation and our progress during the competition, hopefully including some commentary from Justin and Richard along the way.

Thank you for following along with our journey, and go IMC!

Julie

 

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Welcome

Welcome to the 2014 Mumbai Bound blog. We are getting geared up for our trip and we hope that you will check in for future updates.

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