How to prepare for the Jessup Competition

Organising the work of a Jessup Team 

Organisation of the work of a Jessup Team remains at the discretion of Team Advisors, and each university may choose a different approach, taking into consideration time and resources to dedicate to this activity.

On average, Jessup Teams meet once or twice a week with their Team Advisors to discuss the case, exchange ideas and plan the work for the week.

Team Members should ideally meet more often, especially if it will be decided to have them writing Memorials together. 

Meetings usually intensify after the submission of the written pleadings, for the preparation of the oral rounds.

Write a Jessup Memorial

Each Jessup team is required to draft and submit one Applicant memorial and one Respondent memorial. These documents contain submissions intended to persuade the ICJ to rule in favor of the respective party.

Before starting working on the substance of the case, it is advisable to:

  • carefully read the Official Rules - to familiarise with the Content, length and formatting of the Memorials. Violation of these rules would indeed entail attribution of penalties;

  • carefully read the White & Case Jessup Guides - to familiarise with the work you are expected to carry out;

  • take a look at the "Best Memorials" of past competitions - to understand how Memorials should be drafted in terms of style. You can have access to dozen of examples on the ILSA website.

When you are ready to start, make sure to dedicate sufficient time to read and analyse the Compromis: this analysis will form the foundation of your work for the Competition.

A Jessup case usually covers four (4) questions, and distribution of work among different Team Members can follow different approaches. Each of them is a valid solution, and it will entail a "strategic" choice to be made:

Option 1: all Team Members will conduct reseach on all issues and will jointly draft the two Memorials. Pro: it will be easier to find interesting materials and to share ideas. Contra: drafting sessions may be extremely slow and 'weaker' (or 'lazier') students may rest on others' efforts.

Option 2: each Team Member will study one question, drafting both Applicant and Respondent Memorials for his/her topic. Pro: this Team Member will be extremely familiar with the topic and will conduct in depth reseach. Drafting will be independent and thus faster. Contra: other Team Members may not be interested in getting into others' topics and will then have to learn a new issue for the first time when preparing the Oral Rounds.

Option 3: Team Members will be distributed in a 'Applicant team' and 'Respondent team', researching two questions each for each side. Pro: preparation of the oral rounds will be faster as oralists will be already familiar with the substance of their argument and will be able to dedicate more time to enhance their presentation skills. Contra: this approach requires (i) a choice which will influence the whole competition to be made at a very early stage; (ii) necessary good communication with Team Members preparing the 'other side'. Although it may be the most effective approach, it is therefore recommended to teams which already had previous Jessup experience.

To assist Teams with researching and writing Memorials, the ILSA offers two batches of “basic materials”. These materials are published each year when indicated by the Competition Schedule and may be accessed free of charge on ILSA's website. These basic materials provide a good overview of resources, topics, and arguments that should not be overlooked, althought competitive teams will want to conduct additional research. In addition, ILSA lists a variety of research tools on the Jessup Research Page.