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HSE Students Succeeded in Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot

This year, the team of HSE Faculty of Law participated in two competitions at the same time — in Vienna and in Hong Kong. Ekaterina Nuzhdova, Maria Zinovieva, Evgeny Puchkov and Polina Sizikova represented HSE in Vienna. Ksenia Solovyova, Aleksander Zhdanovich, Elsa Dauletshina and Konstantin Vashchenko took part in the contest in Hong Kong.

During preparation for the competition and presentations, the HSE team acquired invaluable experience in international preparatory rounds (pre-moots) in Paris, Moscow, Tbilisi, Belgrade, Hong Kong and Riga. There is no doubt that every presentation is another step towards new knowledge of the doctrine and case studies, argument and presentation skills before the arbitrators that include renowned professors and leading experts from major law firms, who practice arbitration and international law.

This year, the HSE team managed to achieve new heights: according to the results of the main rounds in Hong Kong HSE team took 24th place out of 125 teams from around the world, Elsa Dauletshina was the 7th from 223 participants in individual presentations. These results were achieved largely due to the fact that HSE has developed a real Vis Moot school, based on generational succession, dedication to common goals and incredibly talented and motivated people. The participants shared their impressions of the event that turned out to be more than a competition for them.  

Ekaterina Nuzhdova (4th-year student, Vienna team)

Participation in Vis Moot gave me some valuable experience that helped me to develop skills that cannot be acquired during lectures or seminars, I also got the opportunity to interact with a team of very different, but very creative and talented lawyers. While waiting for my selection in the team, I had no idea that the next six months will be so interesting and exciting.

Though it was not easy, I would not change the feelings and emotions, the adrenaline that you experience during your first speech on pre-moot for anything else, and then all these feelings multiplied in the final rounds in Vienna. And although this is an official competition, the indescribable atmosphere and Vis Moot spirit were actually experienced at every stage: during preparation, presentations and all social events during the Moot.

And it's very cool when more than 2,000 lawyers, beginners and experienced experts (coaches and arbiters), who thoroughly understand the case and are ready to share their vision on different aspects of what you worked on over the last six months, gather in one place. This international legal community inspires you and proved to me that I have chosen the right profession. I would like to thank our coaches, team and HSE Vis Moot Family!

Ksenia Solovyova (4th-year student, Hong Kong team)

The Vis Moot story is personal for each team member, but it develops into a great story of a very large family. My own brief story started with an inspiration, and a willingness to participate and dedicate myself to the common deed. Different people were selected and gathered together ; for six months we stayed in constant tension, built a team, struggled and learned to enjoy what we do. And there is no doubt we succeeded. Each of us did a great job and contributed to writing memoranda, creating our position and preparing for the oral rounds. We made a great team and together we achieved good results.

It was not easy. I remember how we called each other at night to discuss new ideas, how we lived together for a few days during our final preparations, how we discussed unclear issues for hours after a hard day, how we spent weekends practicing presentations for oral rounds. But all the difficulties and challenges we encountered were worth every minute that we spent together. We took part in several preliminary rounds, which took place in other countries – France, Georgia, Latvia, Serbia, met other teams and arbiters, learned about our shortcomings and went forward, and every day we got better and better. We spent the hardest and most unforgettable two weeks in Hong Kong. We supported each other, helped each other and made it through to the knock-out round.

I smile while reading what I’ve written, because there is a story behind each word which I want to keep in my memory for long time.  When people ask me what Vis Moot means to me, the first thing that comes to my mind is a simple and familiar phrase: ‘Vis Moot is about friendship.’ I gained experience and developed some useful skills, but most importantly, I found friends for life, my big Vis Moot family!

Elena Izotova (1st-year master’s student, Vis Moot participant 2015-2016, team coach 2016-2017)

This season I was lucky to test myself as a coach of a dream team. I should say that at the beginning there were some doubts that we wouldn’t be able to prepare two teams at once. But the result was simply amazing! This year the participants put a lot of effort, time and talent into their preparation. However, there is nothing surprising about this: the HSE Vis Moot family just attracts good people.

Receiving the news about HSE’s victory in Hong Kong turned out to be the most exciting moment for me. I really wanted to be with the guys while the results of the qualifying rounds were announced – the energy in the place is absolutely indescribable on these moments. Now we aiming higher in our achievements, and we have a lot of ambitious plans for the next year.

Elsa Dauletshina (1st-year doctoral student, Vis Moot participant 2013-2014 and 2016-2017, team coach 2014-2016)

For me, the Vis Moot is an adventure. An annual adventure you prepare hard for, practice and try to be patient.

For my first adventure in 2013 I started to prepare back in 2012, and that time I already knew that I wanted to be part of the Vis Moot team. And once I tried it, I couldn't stop. I stayed with the team as a coaching assistant, and for 2 years I helped to train HSE team, and this year I was a team member in Hong Kong.

I think that only people who tried themselves in Moots know how much energy you spend on preparation for the weekly oral rounds. It is the annual work of the entire team along with coaches and arbiters. And thanks to the fact that our coaches Elena Mazetova and Mikhail Galperin managed to establish a Vis Moot school at HSE, every year we improve our skills of oral presentations and legal writing and strive to achieve new team and individual goals.
I am extremely proud that I am part of this team and of the big Vis Moot family, which brings together the most dedicated and reliable people who went through writing of memoranda and countless training sessions.

For my personal achievement I would like to thank all the coaches in my life, my first co-counsel Tatiana Murzabaeva and, in particular, Ksenia Solovyova, who this year acted as participant, coach and my friend. My 7th place among 223 participants is a reflection of the whole huge HSE Vis Moot family, and I am grateful to everyone who introduced this competition to me, and allowed me to stay and train the team next year. 


We invite all students to join our new Vis Moot team in September 2017 and promise a wonderful adventure full of new achievements!


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On March 29th, an HSE Faculty of Law team was the first in Russian history to win the The Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (Vis Moot). It beat the University of Cambridge in the finals, and was the best among 362 university teams from around the globe.

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