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Students earn bronze at international competition

College of Law students Christine McCartney and Natasha Singh placed third at the International Negotiation Competition held in Belfast, Ireland on July 3-7.  The competition, hosted by the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen’s University, featured 16 teams from across the globe, each representing a client by negotiating international business transactions in a simulated situation.

Coach and U of S Professor, Michaela Keet, was thrilled with the team’s finish.  “Christine and Natasha were strong and graceful negotiators, earning the respect of their fellow competitors. The event was just an amazingly rich experience.”

Singh and McCartney earned the right to represent Canada at the annual competition after finishing as the top ranking Canadian team at the American Bar Association (ABA) Law Student Division Regional Negotiation Competition in Calgary in November.  With support from the Fraser Milner Casgrain law firm, the team also competed at the ABA Negotiation Finals American Championship in New Orleans in February.

One of the competition's objectives is to help law students experience the social aspects of international legal negotiations, including the enhanced difficulties of cross-cultural communication.  It also emphasizes the potential differences in negotiating styles, ethical limitations, social norms, and business practices.  Students, coaches and representatives from all countries were encouraged to learn from each other in both social and academic settings throughout the week.  Each round of the competition was judged by a panel of three experts (lawyers, negotiators and mediators) from different countries who shared their knowledge and reflections on how to overcome the challenges of cross-cultural negotiation.

“The competition far exceeded our expectations in every way and we look forward to being involved in this event for years to come,” wrote Singh and McCartney in an email to the college.  “The emphasis on education and the opportunity to meet students, lawyers and legal representatives from around the world who share a passion for negotiation is what made the competition such an incredible experience.  We were proud to represent both Canada and the U of S at the international level and we are very grateful for the College of Law’s support throughout our journey.”

The success McCartney and Singh achieved in Belfast reflects the high calibre of the College of Law’s dispute resolution program, a hallmark of the experiential learning opportunities offered at the University of Saskatchewan. Through the program, students develop thoughtful, professional and skillful approaches to managing and resolving client problems and legal disputes. 

Professor Keet and the team would like to thank competition mentor and FMC lawyer, Courtney MacQuarrie; Professors John Kleefeld, Doug Surtees and Felix Hoehn; and members of the legal community including Vern Kiss, Karen Prisciak and Dan Ish, for their guidance and advice throughout the competition.