First Year Students Win International Moot Competition

From left to right: Sharon Li ’18, Andreas Tobias ’18, Lim Boon Choon ’18, Serene Chee ’18, Alvin Tan ’18, and Dean Simon Chesterman.

NUS Law has emerged as the overall champion of the 14th Intercollegiate Negotiation Competition. The team of first year students - Andreas Tobias ’18, Sharon Li ’18, Serene Chee’18, Lim Boon Choon ’18, and Alvin Tan ’18, also clinched the prestigious K&L Gates Award.

NUS Law was participating in this competition for the first time and the team members were all first-year students who were new to mooting competitions. They ascribed their breakthough success to the dedicated guidance of their mentors, Associate Professor Lim Lei Theng, Ms Elaine Chew, Mr Toh Cher Han, Mr Marcus Lim, and Mr Shourav Lahiri.

The competition consisted of two rounds - Arbitration and Negotiation. The moot problem involved complex legal and business disputes between two fictional companies. This required the team to toil through months of intensive research and advocacy practice, culminating in two rounds of exchanges before a panel of judges. The diversity in language and culture of the participants made the process both challenging and interesting. It was in the negotiation round of the competition that this was most evident. The different business cultures and customs spilled into the way parties conducted the negotiations, requiring adaptability and humility in their communications, as they took on a friendly and constructive approach in coming up with creative solutions.

When asked about the biggest obstacle they faced, Sharon stated, “Uncertainty.” Barely four months into law school, each of the five members of the team struggled with the fear of first-year law students being judged on the international stage. Nevertheless, they took the brave step forward. Serene shared, “Ultimately, we wanted to give it our best shot. Win or lose, the experience was all that mattered.”

“The competition was probably one of the best experiences in my first year of Law school. We felt hesitant at first due to our inexperience as fresh law students, but with the exceptional tutelage from our mentors, we grew in skill and confidence. We would especially like to thank Cher Han and Marcus, who invested much of their time on the team. We hope we have done you proud,” added Alvin.

The competition was held from 21 to 22 November 2015, in Tokyo, Japan. The team competed against a total of 21 universities, including the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, Waseda University, Australian National University, University of Sydney, and the University of Hong Kong.