More than 2,500 students are ready for one of the most rewarding trips of their lives. For the past 6 months, students have been learning steadily. Now, they will plead their case from March 31 to April 6. More than 1,000 professionals (including me) will join them to listen to their submissions and get the reward to their efforts.

Vis Moot is about attitude, perseverance, commitment and teamwork. At the end of this intensive journey, all of them will know:

➡️How to analyse a case
➡️do legal and business research
➡️draft a memorandum (even 2!)
➡️present orally their case
➡️ and handle questions.

Let me talk today about the privilege of switching on lights in the learning journey of lawyers in the making.

Beginnings make conditions perfect.

You cannot wait until the conditions are perfect to begin.

Some years ago, I was in Southampton talking about the road that leads to practising arbitration and mediation when an experienced arbitrator and mediator told me that I radiated contagious enthusiasm and advised me to keep sharing my passion for arbitration.

I carefully placed that advice in my bag.

The fact is that I have been reminded of this advice on many occasions when I have given feedback to students at international arbitration competitions.

And each time I found that you can translate passions into realities when you walk with a spring in your step.

Conditions were probably not perfect when my arbitration coaching journey started with ad hoc coaching in English and Spanish, but they became so as soon as I started.

I am not afraid of launching new projects from scratch or preparing the way for others to follow, and to me, the only failure is not trying. Every time you begin something, you learn something. You are realistic about your appetite for risk. There are always hidden gifts.

So I was eating an excellent dish, and conditions once again were not perfect when the next stop on my arbitration coaching journey appeared. It started after a well-organised conference in Edinburgh, when I joined other arbitrators for dinner just before the pandemic started.

Three years later, I can say that once opportunity knocks, it is up to you to build a door.

Success is where preparation and opportunity meet. I have been involved in this competition for the past 10 years as an arbitrator, and I have developed enough real life experience as counsel to understand the importance of good advocacy skills and training. My dual background (civil and common law), legal trilingual skills, and professional experience allow me to build a bridge each time that I coach a team.

To date, I have had the privilege of switching on lights in the learning journey of lawyers in the making as an arbitrator and coach.

This year we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (Vis Moot). The team spirit is what defines this competition. For over 30 years, teams have demostrated an incredible team spirit by participating in this unique educational endeavour. Professionals have also contributed to the team spirit by volunteering. I am looking forward to the start of another week of happy memories.

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