Law School Students Place Fourth in International Environmental Law Competition

University of Hawaiʻi
Bryan Cheplic, 956-5516
Public Relations Specialist
Douglas Codiga, 956-7230
Assistant Professor
Posted: Nov 15, 2001

University of Hawaiʻi law students recently placed among the top four teams in the world at an international moot court competition in Florida concerning the legality of whaling under international environmental law. The International Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, which drew twenty-six student teams from around the world for a series of mock trials, was hosted November 1-3, 2001 by Stetson University in Florida.

To compete in this event, team members Leilani Tan (3L), Kim Moffie (3L), and Kanoelani Kane (2L), students at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaiʻi Manoa, wrote a twenty-page trial brief and presented oral arguments before a panel of experts in international environmental law. The team was coached by visiting Assistant Professor Douglas Codiga and recent law graduate Seth Harris.

The student team, which competed against teams from India, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. mainland, was one of only four teams to advance to the semifinal round of the competition. Tan prevailed over fifty other students to earn the award of Best Oralist, Runner-Up. "It was very exciting and challenging to argue the whaling issue before experts in international law," said Tan. "And it was a great learning experience to compete with students from foreign law schools." This was the second time the law school fielded a team for this competition.

The team's outstanding performance continues the law school's string of successes in moot court competitions in a variety of topics. The school has had a series of national championships, including in environmental law. Two years ago, the law school's Environmental Law Moot Court Team, under the guidance of Professor Denise Antolini, took the national championship in New York. Codiga, faculty advisor to Tan and the international environmental team explained, "The law school's Environmental Law Program attracts students with a strong interest in environmental law and international relations. Also, the law school does a good job in training students to develop strong advocacy skills. For moot court, this is a winning combination."

The law school's tradition of strong moot court teams is based on a very supportive faculty, the school's writing and oral advocacy program, and students who are encouraged and then trained to participate.

[Note to Editors: Photos are available - please contact Bryan Cheplic at 956-5516.]