University of Pittsburgh

The Mootie Blues

by Harry Flechtner
copyright 2006

The song was first performed in public on April 7, 2006, at the opening ceremonies for the 13th Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot held at the Konzerthaus in Vienna. It was a more-or-less unplanned (and certainly unexpected - ask Eric Bergsten, who was acting as master of ceremonies) encore to the performance of "The CISG Song" at those ceremonies.

LYRICS:
Well I'm a Vis (1) , (2) baby. I work that problem day and night.
Yes I'm a Vis mootie, baby. Writin' memos til dawn's light.
I don't ever take no break - yea, the moot gave my social life the blight.

Well I'm a Vis mootie baby. I can argue orally.
Yes I'm a Vis mootie, baby - got a response for every inquiry (3).
Just don't ask me about my love life, 'cause the moot took that away from me.

Well I studied up on substance -CISG (4) comin' out my ears.
Then I turned to procedure - arbitration rules (5) drivin' me to tears.
I went after the problem like a shark on red snapper,
But one more word about flexoprint machines and you can print this on your candy wrapper! (6)

'Cause I'm a Vis mootie, baby. I moot all night long.
Sometimes it seems like Eric Bergsten's (7) my daddy, and my only ma is Ma Pitom. (8)

Well you're a Vis mootie, baby. You're in the library 'til it's closed.
Yes you're a Vis mootie, baby. That problem's got you engrossed.
The only time you get high is when you climb up to the Dachgeschoss. (9)

When you got to Vienna, you found mooties everywhere.
They were all bright and good looking -fancy clothes and nice hair.
And since you hadn't had a date since stars first shone in the night above,
That's when you realized that you're in the moot for love.

Cause you're a Vis mootie, baby. You just moot 'til you're blind.
Well your team may advance, (10) but your love life has been left behind.

Cause we're all Vis mooties, baby. . . . (Oh, yea.)

We're all Vis mooties, baby. . . . (Hear what I say.)

We're all Vis mooties, baby. . . . (It says so on the memos.)

Yea we're all Vis mooties, baby. . . . (V-I-S all the way!)

Our personality's took a beatin', and our love life feels like it's been bombed.
Sometimes it seems like Eric Bergsten's our daddy, and our only ma is Ma Pitom.

NOTES:

*Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law. A.B. 1973, Harvard College; A.M. 1975, Harvard University; J.D., 1981, Harvard Law School. Website

  1. The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (see the website of the Institute for International Commercial of the Pace University Law School, http://www.cisg.law.pace.edu/vis.html).
  2. "Mootie" is the colloquialism by which students participating in the Vis moot are known.
  3. While the manner in which particular hearings are conducted during the oral argument phase of the Vis competition varies (depending on the background and preferences of the arbitrators who generously come to Vienna and donate their time, effort and talents to the education of students participants), most hearings involve questioning - sometimes quite intense questioning - of the students engaged in the oral argument.
  4. The problem in the Vis always involves a substantive dispute governed (at least arguably) by the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods ("CISG").
  5. The context of the dispute resolution in the Vis is international commercial arbitration - although each year a different set of arbitration rules is involved. In the 13th Vis (2005-06), for example, the dispute was before a tribunal constituted under and governed by the rules of the Chicago International Dispute Resolution Association ("CIDRA"). The Vis problem traditionally includes a procedural issue involving the applicable arbitration rules.
  6. This verse was originally written to go with the problem at the 13th Vis Moot (2005-06) which involved a dispute over the sale of "a second-hand 7 stand Magiprint Flexometix Mark 8 machine," known more briefly as a "flexoprint" machine. The buyer wanted the machine in order to print confectionary wrappers.

    In the 2006-7 Vis Moot, the dispute was about non-conforming electrical fuses and this line in the song was replaced with the following:
    " I studied up on substance — CISG comin' out my ears.
    Then I turned to procedure — arbitration rules drivin' me to tears.
    When the problem came out, I was so happy I had to show it.
    Now if you mention Bucharest arbitration, you can stick this in your fuse box and blow it."

    In the 2007-8 Moot, the dispute was about tainted wine and the new verse was:

    I studied up on substance — CISG comin' out my ears.
    Then I turned to procedure — arbitration rules drivin' me to tears.
    I worked on Kompetenz/Kompetenz 'til I felt just like a dork,
    And if you even mention adulterated wine to me now, I'll show you where to put your cork.

  7. The Vis moot was created and each year has been masterfully organized and administered by Professor Eric E. Bergsten of Pace University Law School, who has made it into an extraordinary educational event for thousands of law students. Professor Bergsten's extremely distinguished career has included service as Secretary of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law ("UNCITRAL").
  8. Ma Pitom is the pub (located in the "Bermuda Triangle" section of Vienna near the Schwedenplatz U-Bahn station) that is the traditional evening gathering spot for mooties during the Vis competition. See item 12 on the "Vienna FAQ" page of the website maintained by the Vis Moot Alumni Association ("MAA"), http://www.maa.net/2_mootcompetition/content/02_4.htm#mapitom.
  9. The Dachgeschoss is the large room on the top floor of the Juridicum (law school) of the University of Vienna which serves as the organizational hub and nerve center for the oral argument stage of the Vis. See item 3 on the "Vienna FAQ" page of the website maintained by the Vis Moot Alumni Association ("MAA"), http://www.maa.net/2_mootcompetition/content/02_4.htm#mapitom.
  10. After each participating team has completed four preliminary round oral arguments, a small group of teams (at the most recent moot, 32 teams out of approximately 160 who participated) are selected to advance to the later "elimination rounds" of the moot - culminating (for the two teams who survive into the 5th elimination round) in a final argument (before an assembled crowd of mooties, arbitrators, and others involved in the moot numbering well over 1000) preceding a banquet on the last day of the moot. Because the level of the competition is extremely high, advancing to the elimination round is a notable and highly-prized achievement - but the fortunate teams who do not advance actually have a day to enjoy Vienna.

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