By Eric H. Mao, Director of Academic Affairs
Continuing a two-year reign of dominance for Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) teams, STL’s WTO Law Moot Court squad won the national championship of the Third Annual China WTO Moot Court Competition in Beijing from December 12-14.
The team, composed of two students drawn from each of STL’s three upper-level classes, exemplified superb oral advocacy and analytical ability. Team members were: Xie Longping ’15, Yu Sanya ’15, Zhao Yuhui ’16, Zhou Zixi ’16, Li Jiaxing ’17, and Zhang Yan ’17. The team was also led by their coach, C.V. Starr Lecturer of Law Chen Song.
Eighteen teams attended the competition, each participating in two preliminary rounds. After advancing as one of the top four teams, the WTO team faced and then defeated Wuhan University in the semi-finals where they argued on behalf of the moot problem’s complainant. In the final round, the team switched sides, arguing on behalf of the respondent and then beating Xiamen University. Complainant oralists were Xie and Zhou while respondent oralists were Yu and Zhao. Both Yu and Zhao earned Best Oralist awards. Prof. Song was also recognized as Best Coach.
Xie remarked, “It was really an exciting experience to participate in the competition. In the past months, the whole team worked together closely and diligently. We also gained strength from the legal writing and oral advocacy skills learned through our STL classes. Gratitude to our professors who helped make the impossible possible for us.”
Zhou added, “What a fantastic opportunity this was. There were very competitive participants from all over the country. It was our hard work and teamwork that brought us to the final, and more importantly, the study at STL that well-prepared us for all the challenges on the way to championship.”
The competition, conducted entirely in English, was hosted by the China University of Political Science and Law and co-sponsored by the Department of Treaty and Law at the Ministry of Commerce. The moot problem is the same as that used by the ELSA Moot Court Competition on WTO Law in which the team will also compete starting in February at the Asia-Pacific Regional Round in Manila.
Going back to Spring 2013, STL moot court teams have won four national championships including a victory at the Jessup International Law Moot Court and two CIETAC Cups.
On December 16 2014, Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) Career Services Center arranged a lecture on United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR) Mandate and Refugee Protection.
The lecture was given by Zhang Youli, the senior officer of UNHCR. He had been working in the Asian office, Africa office, and Europe office so he had a deep experience in protecting refugee. During the lecture, Mr. Zhang gave students a specific introduction on UNHCR as well as UNHCR’s work basing on his rich experience. After the lecture, Zhang Youli and Li Sangu, the officer of UNHCR’s China Country Office, not only aswered students’ questions on UNHCR but also shared UNHCR’s recruitment and internship information.
Till now, STL already has two students who are working in UNHCR’s Beijing office. STL Career Services Center keeps on providing students with more recruitment and internship information in each industry.
The 97th Congressional Staff Delegation, organized by the US-Asia Institute and Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs, visited Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) on Dec. 10, 2014.Twelve delegates representing their senator or representative’s state or district office attended the roundtable meeting with STL students. The meeting started with the introduction of US Congress as well as policy making procedure in US and ended with a hot Q&A session.
This is the second time for STL to host the visit by US Congressional Staff Delegation. The 87th Congressional Staff Delegation visited STL in the summer of 2012 and talked with students participating in STL Summer Honors Program.
(STL Associate Dean Colleen Toomey shaking hands with the delegation members)
In the morning of 8 December 2014, STL International Women Professional Association (SWL) visited the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court. Students chose the cases which they were interested in to audit under the guidance of the Court’ staff.
“The actual cases in real life is totally different from the cases on textbooks. In addition to strengthen the learning of theoretical study, the analysis will be more emphasis on the ability to sort out the cases.” — He Yimin, student from 1L
“Chinese and American legal system are very different, the judge’s impartiality and specialty in China left me a deep impression.” — Professor Nathaniel Reisenburg of STL
This activity allow students to integrate theory with practice and to understand the law comprehensively through auditing the cases. The aim of it is to promote students’ ability to study the practical law.
On November 28th, 2014, Mr. Cao Pingsheng, Partner of Grandall Law Firm, came to Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) to deliver a lecture titled “Capital Market and Securities Lawyers”. With the current Chinese capital market as the center focus, Lawyer Cao Pingsheng gave a detailed analysis about the major work and the prospect of the career development as a securities lawyer.
Lawyer Cao pointed out that, in the past, Initial Public Offerings (IPO) was the major way of corporations to be listed. Securities lawyers dealing with IPO has to work with high officials of corporations, sponsor representatives and accountants. Currently, the IPO market has been very crowded, resulting many changes in the capital market. One of the changes is the emergence of Merger and Acquisition (M&A). Also, with the ban-lifting of the non-tradable shares, the equity of corporations has become more dispersed, making the competition over the ownership of public corporations more intense. In this context, the significance of the role of lawyer is increasing sharply.
Additionally, Lawyer Cao gave lots of valuable advice on how to become a securities lawyer and indicated that STL students had a great advantage in the area of outbound investment. In the last part of the lecture, Lawyer Chen Yong from Dacheng Law Offices shared his own rich experiences in securities and relevant legal matters. After the end of the lecture, Lawyer Cao Pingsheng and his team had a face-to-face meeting with students from Investment and Law Firm Association.
By Eric H. Mao, Director of Academic Affairs
For the second year in a row, Peking University School of Transnational Law’s (STL) Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court team bested 32 other Chinese schools to win the championship of the 12th annual CIETAC Cup in Beijing from November 17-21. The team is composed of 4 students, all 2Ls from the Class of 2017 – Guo Yufei, Liu Yi, Wang Biyu, and Yu Yadian.
A truly complete team performance, the Vis squad swept their way to the final round by arguing on behalf of the moot problem’s claimant, defeating teams from Jilin University in the quarterfinal round and China University of Political Science and Law in the semifinal round. Upon reaching the final round, the team switched sides, arguing on behalf of the respondent and then vanquishing Shantou University. Claimant oralists were Guo and Yu while respondent oralists were Liu and Wang.
Upon being announced the champions, the team rose to the stage and received their trophy to the applause of hundreds in attendance, among them judges, arbitrators, professors, students from around China and the world. In addition to the championship, the team garnered five Best Oralist awards, including the Best Oralist award for the quarterfinal round (Yu), semifinal round (Yu), and final round (Wang). Judges commented throughout the week on the team’s “deeply impressive” advocacy and “forceful” argumentation.
As champions, the team has now earned scholarships sponsored by CIETAC to support travel and accommodations at the international Vis competition in Vienna in March.
Guo commented, “I met lots of talented young students and had a taste of what real arbitration proceeding is like during the CIETAC Cup. This is an invaluable and memorable experience for me. Through CIETAC Cup, I also realize how far I’ve come since I entered into STL. The training here is extremely helpful.”
Wang added, “I am so glad that I have had the privilege to participate in the CIETAC Cup as a member of the STL Vis Team. The CIETAC Cup is a fascinating event where law students have the access to the real world of legal practice. What excites me more is that we managed to defend the championship for STL. The STL community has provided enormous support in all aspects, without which we would not be able to make our path to the final.”
The CIETAC Cup is sponsored by the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC). The CIETAC Cup uses the same case problem as the international Vis competition, focused around the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, and simulating an actual arbitral hearing. The competition is held entirely in English.
The four students on STL’s Vis team are among 23 who participate each year in the school’s international moot court program. The moot court competitions provide intense training in legal writing and oral advocacy, helping to augment skills acquired in the school’s Transnational Legal Practice program. Faculty coaches work closely with each moot court team to guide learning while the law school provides financial support for travel.
This year, in addition to the Vis team competing in Vienna, STL has teams competing in the Vis (east) Competition (based in Hong Kong), the European Law Student Association WTO Moot Court (based in Geneva), the International Criminal Court Trial Competition (based at the Hague), the Jessup International Law Moot Court (based in Washington, D.C.), and the Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot Court (based in Hong Kong).
Additional coverage of the team’s achievement appeared in several national news organizations as below.
On November 19, 2014, Preston Torbert returned to Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) to present a lecture about the downfall of Arthur Andersen, one of the largest and most prestigious accounting firms in the world. The lecture focused on various theories about what caused the firm’s collapse, ranging from corporate governance failures, to severe breaches of professional ethics and standards, to ambiguity in the way the firm carried out its policies and internal operating procedures. The latter cause – ambiguity – is a topic that Mr. Torbert researches and teaches. His recent law review article – A Study of the Risks of Contract Ambiguity – was published in Volume 2, Issue 1 (2014) of STL’s Peking University Transnational Law Review. The article was one of the top ten most downloaded articles on SSRN in the fields of Contracts, Commercial Law, and Securities Law. Professor Torbert is a long-time visiting professor at STL, teaching a very pragmatic course on ambiguity and problems in multilingual contracts. He currently is Senior Counsel at Baker & McKenzie, where he was one of the founders of the firm’s China practice group and played a key role in establishing the firm’s Beijing and Taipei offices.
Following the lecture, members of STL’s Law Review Board presented Professor Torbert with a signed copy of the most recent edition of the Law Review, which includes Professor Torbert’s article.
On November 4, 2014, the Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) hosted a lunch-time lecture during which STL Visiting Assistant Professor Nicholas Frayn discussed an important criminal law case currently pending in the New York Court of Appeals. The case, People v. Dunbar, asks whether a program run by the Queens District Attorney of videotaped interviews with defendants conducted shortly before they were arraigned, at which point the right to counsel would attach, violated the defendants’ rights under the Fifth Amendment, which include protection from compelled self-incrimination.
Before joining STL, Professor Frayn was an attorney with the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Practice, the largest public defender program in the United States. At the Legal Aid Society, he litigated dozens of cases in which defendants had given videotaped statements under the program at issue in People v. Dunbar. Professor Frayn described the various arguments that have been raised in the filings and engaged the audience of STL students and faculty with challenging questions about defendant’s “rights” in the United States criminal justice system.
Professor Frayn teaches criminal law in STL’s first-year J.D. curriculum.
On November 4, 2014, the Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) welcomed Professor Daniel M. Filler, Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs at Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law. Professor Filler, a criminal law and legal ethics scholar, presented a lecture on “The New Dawn of Hands-on Legal Education,” about the new emphasis in American legal education on the importance of experiential learning. Following the lecture, Professor Filler met with groups of STL students and faculty to learn more about STL’s innovative J.D./J.M. program of study and to share his experience at Drexel, a law school known for its extensive experiential “co-op” programs.
In addition to his faculty and administrative positions at Drexel, Professor Filler is the co-founder of one of the most widely read law professor blogs, The Faculty Lounge, which has twice won awards from the American Bar Association as one of the Top 100 law blogs in the United States. In September, 2014, STL Associate Professor Ray Campbell was invited to be a guest blogger on The Faculty Lounge.