I just returned from a week spent in Vienna, Austria at the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. This is the premier international moot in this field, and it was thrilling to be a part of it. The Vis Moot truly is an international event. This year, 203 universities from fifty-two countries participated--around 1,400 students, plus coaches and arbitrators. The United States sent the largest number of teams--fifty-one law schools were represented. Every year, the students are given a devilishly complex problem requiring them to deal with the law of international commercial arbitration and also with the law of international sales. For the latter, students around the world rely on the award-winning CISG database produced by Pace Law School's Institute of International Commercial Law. I am proud to serve as the Database Manager for this project, and I enjoyed the opportunity to meet and talk with individuals I have previously known only through email correspondence. I also enjoyed watching Pace's Vis team argue during one of the rounds of the competition. They did a fine job against tough competition! The final round pitted Touro Law School (here is a link to Touro's press release about the Moot) against Carlos III (Madrid), with Carlos III eventually prevailing. The quality of the final two teams was impressive, and it must have been difficult for the judges to choose between them.
Vienna is a beautiful, gracious city, with a great public transportation system, but it is also well suited to walking. I made time to visit three of Vienna's art museums and spent a whole day visiting some of my favorite paintings at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which is known for its fabulous collection of Old Masters. The forsythia and daffodils were already in bloom (they're not in New York), but it was cold, and last Thursday night, the snow was falling in big, heavy clumps. This only made the city more beautiful. Austria is a Catholic country, and shops were festively decorated for the Easter holiday. The only downside is that with the dollar becoming weaker each day we were in Austria, or so it seemed, everything was very expensive, and we decided we would rather eat than buy souvenirs.
The photograph above is of Vienna's Rathaus (City Hall), where we gathered last Tuesday night to find out which sixty-four teams would advance to the next round.