USJ Law students at the 14th Annual MENA Vis Pre-Moot

Abu Dhabi
5-9 February 2024

The Middle East Vis Pre-Moot seeks to reinforce the presence and competitiveness of MENA teams in the annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot.

The Middle East Vis Pre-Moot is a unique formative experience that increases awareness of international commercial arbitration, raises standards of advocacy, and, more widely, consolidates the study and practice of international commercial law and arbitration in the Middle East by laying foundations for the future.

The USJ law students’ team that participated this year in the Mena Vis Pre-Moot (held at Abu Dhabi Global Market, Al-Maryah Island) is made up of 8 members: Laetitia Abou Rahal, Sasha Abou Saad, Karl Makary, Nadim Hoyeck, Gabriel Madkour, Yasmina El Tawil, Marc Chalhoub and Maria Chidiac. They all tested their skills in real-life simulations cases and got assessed by renowned specialists in the field.

The USJ team has undeniably left its mark on everyone involved in the competition, be it the organizers, arbitrators, other coaches, and other teams’ students. Thanks to their determination and extremely hard work in just a few days the USJ team achieved amazing results and made it to the Quarter Finals.

Laetitia Abou Rahal received the Award of the Best Oralist on behalf of Respondent. Mr Stephen Gardner, the Chief Legal Counsel of the Commercial Law Development Program of the US Department of State praised Laetitia for her level of advocacy and knowledge. Professor Ronald A. Brand of the Center for International Legal Education of the University of Pittsburgh awarded her a USD 15,000 scholarship and an automatic admission to the University of Pittsburgh LLM Program.

Sasha Abou Saad ranked 2nd Best Oralist on behalf of Claimant. Her presence projected a fully-grown professional arbitration advocate.

Nadim Hoyeck is a natural-born pleader. Nadim was selected to become Lebanon country representative in the Middle East Pre-Moot Alumni Network.

Gabriel Madkour is passionate with a very engaging pleading style. He presented a huge potential to become a great pleader.

Yasmina El Tawil stood out with her poised, calm demeanour and her passion. With her performance, Yasmina brought great energy to the team.

Marc Chalhoub stood out with his smart mind and positive attitude to resolve any legal issue.

Maria Chidiac was distinctive with her discussions and her great team work spirit. She was undeniably an asset to her teammates.

Karl Makary performed with passion while pleading. His level of advocacy makes him a great pleader.

This experience would not have been possible without the generous and continuous commitment of our sponsors: Nassif Arbitration (Me Karim Nassif)- main sponsor; Madkour Law Firm (Me Roy Madkour); Tyan and Zgheib Law Firm (Me Joe Zgheib); Araygi and Maalouly Law Firm (Me Raymond Araygi) and Sahara Abu Dhabi Real Estate Management (Ms. Samar Matta Kanaan). We also extend our gratitude to Fouad Dandan, Lebanon’s Ambassador to the UAE, for his endeavours in facilitating the team’s stay in Abu Dhabi.

Finally, we would like to thank all the coaches assisting the team this year, whether face-to-face or remotely: Sasha Abou Rjeily, Maria Chahine, Joya Cherfan, Amanda Corm, Nathalie Daccache, Tatiana El-Hajj, Michele Ghawi, May Haroun, Joelle Jbeily, Youssef Khattar, Julien Maalouf, Jihad Mouawad, Aya Sabra, Saria Semaan and Salim Sleiman. They volunteered so much of their time, listening to the students plead and assisting them all along the way to showcase their skills and get a valuable practice in the process.

Thanks to all these combined efforts, our students made it to the Quarter Finals. As M. Sleiman says: “We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our preparation. There is only room for improvement.”

We are fully confident that the team will go far in the competition this year!