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UF ICAM team places in top 7 percent at international competition


Clockwise from left: Jennifer Thomas, Caitlin Mitchell, Christa Diaz, Julianne Parker, Donna-Marie Hayle and Kimberly Stewart. The group is preparing for an eight-day trip to Austria's capital for an international competition.

Members of the University of Florida Levin College of Law International Commercial Arbitration Moot (ICAM) team competed in the Willem Vis international competition earlier this month in Vienna, and landed among the top 7 percent of competitors.

The team — consisting of Julianne Parker, Christa Diaz, Donna Marie Hayle, Caitlin Mitchell, Kimmy Stewart and Jennifer Thomas — competed for UF among 255 teams from all over the world. According to Professor George Dawson, faculty advisor with Professor Jeffrey Harrison, the team not only "made the cut" of the final 64, but won its first competition in the finals against Loyola-Chicago.

"To give that some perspective, Boalt (University of California at Berkeley Law School), (University of) Chicago, Columbia, Cornell and Yale did not make the cut, and I believe Harvard lost in the first round of the finals," Dawson said. "I believe that only American (University) and St. John's (University) went further than we did. (The University of) Georgia and Stetson, among others, also lost in the round of 32. As an aside, St. John's made the final four."

UF narrowly missed the advancement to the final 16, placing it in the top 7 percent of all 255 competitors. All six UF Law students argued in the preliminary rounds, and thus contributed to making the finals.

"We do not believe there were other teams that used three pairs of students to argue," Dawson said. "We're proud of the students, and we believe they had a significant educational experience."

The team received an Honorable Mention award for Best Brief and Julianne Parker received Honorable Mention as Best Oralist.

Prior to their success in Vienna, the ICAM team took first place in the competition sponsored by the International Law Section of The Florida Bar in Miami Feb. 26. Christa Diaz was named Best Oralist of the competition. All of the Florida law schools with ICAM teams — UF, Florida Coastal, Stetson, Nova Southeastern, University of Miami and Florida International — as well as teams from Paris and Mexico City, participated in the competition.

"They are a superb group of students who have worked hard and accomplished a great deal," Dawson said.