By Lori Atherton April 29, 2019
Michigan Law Professor John H. Jackson, '59, was a legal giant in the field of international trade law. So it's fitting that when the European Law Students Association (ELSA) wanted to rename its nearly 20-year-old moot court competition, it selected Jackson as the competition's namesake. What was previously known as the ELSA Moot Court Competition on World Trade Organization (WTO) Law is now the John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition.
ELSA chose to rebrand its competition to honor Jackson's legacy by introducing his work more broadly to students worldwide, and to highlight his devotion to teaching and trade law, said Marisa Goldstein, '01, counsellor in the legal affairs division of the WTO who serves on the competition's academic board.
Jackson taught at Michigan Law for 35 years and for another 18 at the Georgetown University Law Center, and trained hundreds of students throughout his teaching career. He was considered the preeminent legal scholar on the subject of international trade, with a special focus on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). In addition, he is considered one of the chief architects of the WTO's dispute-settlement procedures. He died in 2015 at the age of 83.
"My father was an incredibly hard worker motived by real-world challenges," said Lee Ann Jackson, John Jackson's daughter. "He believed in the value of discussion and debate, particularly when faced with difficult issues. And, most importantly, through his teaching and his scholarship, he was committed to connecting with people. I can see that these values are also integral to this competition, which is about hard work and dedication. It's about debating differences on the way to finding solutions, and it's about connecting with the global trade community. My family and I are honored to have my father remembered in this way."
The Jackson Moot Competition annually draws participants from around the globe. This year, students from 90 schools on six continents are competing. The competition opens each September with the release of the case followed by regional rounds in Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Americas. The final rounds are held in Geneva in June with the semi and grand finals hosted by the WTO at its headquarters. Goldstein hopes more U.S. students, including those from Michigan Law, will participate in future competitions, especially now that the competition is associated with Jackson's name.
For more information on the competition, or to volunteer as a competition coach or mentor, email Goldstein at
firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on how to become a formal sponsor of the competition, email email@example.com.
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