Posted in: Lawyers None


From the campus of Prince Sultan University in Saudi Arabia to the University of South Carolina, students gather to foster international commercial law and arbitration each year at the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot competition.   

Known as the Vis Moot, the competition teaches students to resolve international commercial disputes by arbitration while meeting new friends and future colleagues from places all over the world.  

The Vis Moot marks its 30th year in Vienna this spring and will be held in-person for the first time in nearly three years. Students from both UofSC School of Law and Charleston School of Law have already been working hard to prepare, and  the volunteer attorney coaches from the SC Bar keep the ball rolling by getting the teams ready to succeed on the worldwide stage.  

The Honorable Kristi Harrington, South Carolina Supreme Court certified mediator and arbitrator who helped coach the Charleston School of Law’s team, has had first-hand experience in international legal relations and wanted the world to see the talent of South Carolina law students.  

“I had the incredible experience of teaching law in two foreign countries, so I immediately agreed to add this competition to the Moot Court Board,” Harrington says. “We were able to assemble a team from the recent internal competition, and with the assistance of my fellow coaches, the five students were able to compete in April 2021.”  

Alongside Harrington were Brent Clinkscale and Chris Campbell who saw the need for more instruction and exposure for South Carolina students and assisted in coaching both the UofSC School of Law and the Charleston School of Law teams  

“South Carolina has a place in this conversation and deserves a seat at the international commercial table,” Campbell says. “However, we won’t get to take that seat if we don’t demonstrate our students and practitioners' capability—success in the Vis is one way to do that.”  

The belief in developing South Carolina’s reputation in the international legal and business world is a core vision for the Vis Moot coaching staff. Campbell calls it essential.   

“It is exciting to see our teams grow in their writing and advocacy skills throughout the competition and to watch them admirably represent their respective law schools against teams from all over the world,” says coach and International Law Committee member Micah Chetta.   

Giving South Carolina students a seat at the international commercial table is only a small part of the Vis Moot coaches’ mission. The biggest goal is to continue working with the students and keep growing their skills.   

“As chair of the South Carolina Bar International Law Committee, I think it is amazing that we can help facilitate students from our law schools to engage and compete against students all over the world,” managing member of Clinkscale Global ADR Brent Clinkscale said. “The opportunity to help law students learn the international legal system is why I continue to stay involved.”  

From this September to January 2023, the coaches are working with students on the legal memoranda and perfecting their oral presentations in preparation for the upcoming competition. With the start of registration five days away, the opportunity to show the world the talent South Carolina holds approaches.   

“Give the students opportunities that will build a loyal and tight-knit legal community without being confined to the borders of the state,” says Campbell. “It’s like the World Cup…for law.”