Contact: Elizabeth Coplan
University of Washington School of Law



UW team wins at the University of San Diego’s Thorsnes Vis Commercial Arbitration Pre-Moot

SEATTLE -- UW law 2Ls Brie Coyle and Andy Murphy and UW law 3L Erin Pettigrew competed in the Thorsnes Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot at the University of San Diego, Feb. 18-19. The team made it into the finals, with Coyle and Murphy taking first place in the competition, as well as 2 of the 3 speaker awards.

The UW Mediation Clinic team started in 2006 and has competed in the Vis competition every year. This year’s team is comprised of 3Ls David Rubenstein, Erin Pettigrew and Sarah Sprinkle and 2Ls Brie Coyle, Andy Murphy, and Grant Rafter.

Because it was Coyle and Murphys’ first international commercial arbitration competition, Coyle said they were nervous, but gained a lot from the experience. “I learned that moot court success is dependent not only upon strong speaking skills but also upon refined listening skills,” she said. “The best way to answer a judge's argument is to listen for the call of the question.”

The UW team participated in the tournament with competitors from around the globe. During the competitions in Vienna and Hong Kong, over 275 law schools from more than 70 countries participate.

“Winning the tournament and receiving a speaker award was very validating by demonstrating that the hours of work we dedicated to this tournament helped us become better advocates and competitors,” Murphy said.

Dara Levinson '10 coached the team during the competition, by providing them with feedback and advice. Levinson was a member of the UW Vis team when she was in law school and won the competition in 2009.

“It was one my favorite experiences in law school, so I wanted to stay involved as a coach after I graduated,” she said. “It was a fantastic experience to coach Erin, Brie and Andy in San Diego…They did a stellar job, and it was wonderful to play a small part in their win.”

Pettigrew said she is grateful for the help of Levinson, Gold and Professor Theodore Myhre, and long-time coaches Peter Day, David Wagoner and Alex Wu, in particular.

“They have been stalwart supporters of the team and we are grateful for their guidance,” she said.

Senior lecturer and Director of the UW Mediation Clinic Julia Gold said she is thankful for the help of Wagoner, who is a Seattle attorney who often supports UW teams during competitions. She said he has been their “best cheerleader” over the years. Gold said she is also appreciative of alumni like Levinson and Wu as well.

“It’s such a wonderful thing for alumni to do,” she said. “You couldn’t have a better coach than former student who actually participated in the competition.”

Murphy and Coyle left the Thorsnes competition to compete at the National Native American Moot Court competition in Honolulu, Hawaii, finishing in the quarter finals.

“Going directly from one competition to another is a bit daunting, but it's thoroughly enjoyable when working with such a terrifically talented partner,” Murphy said, who will also attend the Vis Arbitration Competition in Vienna in April of this year and the Vis East Arbitration in Hong Kong next year.

Levinson said she is confident the team will do well in Vienna.

“It’s really wonderful seeing UW students excel on a national level,” she said. “I'm incredibly proud of their achievement, and can't wait to see how well they're going to do in the future.”

Gold said the students did well and credits their success to their hard work and the assistance of alumni.

“Our team just keeps getting better and better,” she said. “It’s very rewarding for them to get recognized.”

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