Masha Tyurnikova and Timur Maximov :
Our students of the month for February 2007 are Masha Tyurnikova and Timur Maximov. Both began as students in Pericles’ LL.M. program in American Business Law this semester, at the same time as finishing off their specialist degrees at their respective Russian law schools. We chose these two students because both of them represented their schools in the Russian Regional Championships of the Jessup International Moot Court Competition.
Masha Tyurnikova is in her final year of law study at the Moscow Institute of Water Transport. She says that frankly she was a little shocked when her dean approached her late last year and said he had chosen her for the school’s Jessup team. “Do you know how hard that competition is?” she asked him. Masha had already seen the Jessup in action, participating for Pericles as a bailiff. She was a little overwhelmed, as she realized that many of the teams start preparing as early as September, and her school was already several months late. She rose to the challenge, however, as her team won all four of its rounds, and was just a few points short of becoming quarterfinalists. That’s amazing for a team that was participating for the first time and starting so late in the year.
Timur Maximov is in his 4th year of study at the Moscow Academy of Foreign Trade, and, contrary to Masha, Timur is an old Jessup hand. He participated in the Jessup in 2006 also, and meeting Pericles students at the Jessup convinced him to join Pericles LL.M. program. Last year Timur’s team won three out of four rounds of competition, and this year only two, but then it’s a really tough competition, and sometimes one manages to impress a particular judge more than other times. Timur is majoring in international private law at his law school, and is interested in US contract law and financial markets. He is hoping to start work soon in the investment banking sphere.
The Jessup is the biggest and most famous law student competition in the world. In this challenging event student teams of up to five students argue a hypothetical case setting forth challenging questions of international law. This year, for example, the competition revolved around the rights and obligations of a nation wanting to enter an international organization. The participants in the Jessup write 20 page papers advocating each side of the case, and then argue the case in front of a team of international judges.
Just a few years ago the Jessup was practically unknown in Russia. It is the tremendous efforts of the Moscow office of White & Case law firm that has brought the competition to such prominence here that Russia now hosts the largest Jessup regional competition outside the United States. White & Case does its utmost in sponsoring the competition each year, including paying for dozens of winning students to go to the international championship in Washington, D.C. and recruiting over 100 law professors and practicing lawyers from all the top international law firms in Russia to serve as judges.
We at Pericles are also big supporters of the Jessup and encourage others to do likewise. Although, as a graduate level law program, our school is ineligible to sponsor a Jessup team of our own, many of Pericles students act as bailiff for the competition, others of our students and professors judge, and several students have helped to coach various teams. Any lawyer who truly considers himself international should consider it a duty to participate in the Jessup. There is no better way to train students in practical legal skills while promoting the in-depth study and understanding of international law at the student level.
Congratulations Masha and Timur on a job well done!