The International Law Students Association is a non-profit association of students and lawyers who are dedicated to the promotion of international law. ILSA provides students with opportunity to study, research, and network in the international legal arena. The organization's activities include academic conferences, publications, the global coordination of student organizations, and the administration of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.
The Honorary Council was established in 2011 in anticipation of ILSA’s 50th year as the premier organization for students pursuing study in the field of international law. The Council is dedicated to furthering ILSA’s mission of promoting the worldwide study, development, and practice of international law. Through the support and assistance of the Honorary Council, ILSA will continue to engage the world’s foremost jurists, scholars, and practitioners as ILSA conference panelists, keynote speakers at ILSA events, advanced round judges of the Jessup Competition, and members of the Authorial Committee responsible for drafting the annual Jessup Compromis.
Honorary Council members are long-standing contributors to international jurisprudence and scholarship, and together comprise some of the field's most inspired legal minds. Each Honorary Council member has demonstrated unflagging support for the next generation of international law scholars and practitioners through significant involvement with ILSA and the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. Council members have served on the Jessup 50th Anniversary Honorary Committee, spoken at ILSA conferences and events around the world, and presided over the Jessup Cup World Championship Round.
The primary purpose of Council membership is to support ILSA and the Jessup Program in name, and thereby enhance the esteem of the organization and encourage others to become involved in ILSA programs as participants and sponsors. There is no financial cost associated with membership. Members are encouraged, but are never required, to attend ILSA events.
Member responsibilities are comprised of the following:
Fifty years ago, in 1959, I was a newly minted Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard Law School – newly minted, but not bright and shiny. The brightest element of my daunting teaching load was jointly teaching the basic course in public international law with Professor Richard R. Baxter. Baxter and I had become friends in 1950 when we both studied with Professor Lauterpacht at Cambridge University. Baxter, then a captain in the Judge Advocate General Corps of the United States Army, had been sent to plumb the depths of the law of war under Lauterpacht, who had recently revised the British War Manual. I found myself in Cambridge studying international law on Harvard’s Knox fellowship. It was a pleasure nine years later to be teaching together with Baxter, who was as effervescent as he was acute.
Moot courts were an entrenched institution of Harvard Law School teaching. One day Baxter proposed that we set up a moot court in international law. I said, “good idea,” whereupon in best military style Baxter said that I had just volunteered to draft the problem to be put to the moot court advocates. So I prepared a problem on a topic current then and current today: Cuba’s discriminatory and confiscatory expropriation of American owned property in Cuba.
The court was composed of Professor Milton Katz, Professor Roger Fisher and myself. The advocates were Tom Farer, William Zabel, Ivan Head (a Canadian), and Bernard Clark (a New Zealander).
The argument went off beautifully and gave birth to the Jessup Competition. Baxter with my agreement so named it in honor of Professor Philip Jessup of Columbia Law School. Jessup was a magnificent man, eminent not only as a teacher and scholar but as a diplomat, having served with great success as United States ambassador-at-large. He was also among the company of Americans slandered by Senator Joseph McCarthy. Senator McCarthy’s slanders notwithstanding, Jessup was nominated for election as a judge of the International Court of Justice in 1960 and served with great distinction. Baxter wrote a discreet note for the American Journal of International Law which bears on the nomination of Jessup for the Court.
In 1960, the second Jessup Competition took place between teams from Harvard and Columbia Law Schools. Thereafter it spead among other American law schools.
By the time that I was appointed as Executive Director of the American Society of International Law in 1967, the Jessup Competition had spread widely in the United States. Its administration shifted from one law school to another each year, and suffered from instability and poverty.
One of my first initiatives as Executive Director was to put the Jessup Competition on a broader, more solid base. I worked up a foundation application that provided for appointment of a Fellow of the Society whose duties would include establishing a central office for administering the Jessup Competition, and for funds to bring teams from overseas to compete with American teams. The then President of the Society, a senior partner of Sullivan & Cromwell, John Stevenson, quickly approved and almost as quickly produced a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. The international Jessup Competition, administered by the first Fellow, Jim Nafziger, was off to the races, and it has been running at high speed ever since. As those who have taken part in it, as advocates and as judges, know, it is a superb teaching tool. It not only teaches the substance and procedures of international law and litigation, but it demonstrates to the participants that there is more than one side to the issues of international law.
As fate would have it, not only Jessup, but Baxter and I came to serve as judges of the International Court of Justice. That great Court serves as the model for the Jessup Competition, and, as Judge Higgins will shortly show, it is a Court of considerable achievement.