Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What I Did over January Break: Sirtaj K.

Classes have been back in session for a few weeks, so we asked our student bloggers what they did over their winter break.  Enjoy!

Sirtaj, what did you do over your winter break?
Ciao SAISers !
I hope the weather is treating you well. It looks like spring is around the corner here in DC as the snow melts and the birds start to chirp again. Since this is my final semester, it has been a challenging and exhausting one for me. (Not that I regret any of it!) One of the reasons is the Jessup Moot Court competition.
A moot court competition consists of a fictitious law court (in this case, the International Court of Justice) and fictitious legal proceedings in order to test one’s legal analysis and advocacy skills. Kind of like a Model United Nations, but for lawyers! This competition in particular, the Jessup Moot Court, is the biggest one in the world. Over 80 countries are sending their teams to Washington, DC for the international rounds this year!
SAIS is one of only two non-law schools which participate in the competition. This has been a SAIS tradition for 25 years. And what an experience it is! I studied law in India and I had heard of Jessup. When I came to SAIS, I decided to be part of the 2015 SAIS Jessup team. Our case concerned the secession and annexation of a territory of one country by another, as well as some international treaty issues. We had to argue for and against the secession and annexation.
The mid-Atlantic regional rounds for the competition took place in February. The SAIS team, consisting of 5 people – we spent all last semester as well as the winter preparing our written arguments. We then started practicing for oral rounds in January, for six hours every week.
We entered the regional rounds as underdogs. Everyone else there was in law school. But over 7 rounds, from the preliminaries to the finals, we stood undefeated, placed 2nd among 22 teams. We were the finalists in the regional round, ensuring that we get a coveted spot in the international rounds. It was an exhilarating experience, where all of us got to feel like lawyers in the International Court of Justice. We were discussing issues which are vital to international peace, stability and the state-structure that the international community has built for itself. I am so glad to have had the chance to participate in Jessup with this team and from SAIS!
Our international rounds are in the second week of April here in Washington, DC. Over 120 teams from around the world will be there. If you are interested in international legal issues and are in the city, feel free to drop by! And I will keep you posted on what happens in the competition!
–Sirtaj K., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger