UM law student can add! 

On Sunday, Feb. 22, four UM law students were sent packing from a Salem, Ore., moot court competition. They had lost the fourth round of the International Law Students Association’s regional Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition—or so they were told.

“The other team was very good,” says competitor and second-year UM law student Matthew Lowy, “but I thought we were better.”

So when UM received the score sheets in the mail seven days later, Lowy scrutinized the six categories to find out where, exactly, the UM team had fallen short. He added up the figures.

“I did it in my head maybe 10 times,” says Lowy. “Then I used a calculator.”

Sure enough, the UM team had actually won—it would have qualified to compete in two more rounds in Salem.

Lowy didn’t place the call alerting ILSA to the mathematical error—“I would have yelled.” The team’s advisor and UM legal counsel—and “much more diplomatic,” says Lowy—David Aronofsky called. “Who knows whether we would have won,” says Aronofsky. In any case, UM faxed the score sheets to ILSA. Five minutes later, says Lowy, ILSA’s Michael Peil called and told them the only equitable resolution would be for the UM team to present arguments in the world competition—to which the team had never advanced.

And so the team will be one of 103 international teams competing in Washington, D.C., at the end of March. If they win, they’ll bring home the Jessup Cup—and, says Lowy, a lot of pride.

In D.C., the judges, including internationally renowned lawyers, will rank the students’ understanding of law. They will also rate style, poise, courtesy and demeanor. Lowy will dress for the occasion.

“You look like a lawyer,” says Lowy. “You wear a suit and tie. You make sure your hair is closely cut. You shave that morning.” Then, “It’s a stretch for me.”

While primping and grooming may not be Lowy’s strong points, his math skills, evidently, are right on the money.

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