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U of S hosts ABA Regional Negotiation Competition

The University of Saskatchewan College of Law was pleased to host the Region 7 American Bar Association (ABA) Negotiation Competition on Nov. 1 and 2, welcoming 32 students from seven schools including:

  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Manitoba
  • Hamline University (St. Paul, MN)
  • William Mitchell College of Law (St. Paul, MN)
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • Drake Law School (Des Moines, IA)
  • St. Thomas Law (Miami)

The competition simulated legal negotiations in which law students, acting as lawyers and operating in teams of two, negotiated opposing interests in a series of legal problems. The simulations consisted of both a common set of facts known by all participants and confidential information known only to the participants representing a particular side. Scores were based on the participants’ legal analysis, poise, creativity, communication and negotiation skills.

On Saturday, the preliminary rounds consisted of each team negotiating two separate legal problems, representing hypothetical clients.  At the conclusion of the two rounds, it was announced that the teams from the University of Manitoba and Hamline University would advance to Sunday’s final. The day culminated with a social event hosted by the college’s student-run Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) club. 

Following a close final round on Sunday morning, the judges declared the team of Andrew Slough and Shimon Leibl from the University of Manitoba as the winners. They have the option of advancing to the National Negotiation Finals Competition in Houston, Texas in February.

The final judging panel was composed of Dan Ish, QC, Jay Watson, and Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Daniel Konkin. College of Law professor Michaela Keet was the competition administrator.

Watson, a lawyer with Cuelenaere Kendall Katzman & Watson, said he was very impressed with the preparation and skills of all of the participants.  “When I was in law school there were no classes in alternative dispute resolution and certainly no classes on negotiation. Negotiation makes up a large part of what lawyers do on a day-to-day basis, and that makes these types of competitions very valuable.”

Stephanie Kingsbury, Tonya Kent, Keith Barron, Vansi Suresh, Eduard Matei and Chin Phing Tan represented the University of Saskatchewan, while fellow U of S law students Kara Moen, Talon Regent, Sunjeet Grewal and Ryland Hunter participated as a shadow team in preparation for the International Chamber of Commerce Mediation Advocacy competition in February.

Student Tonya Kent said it was a tough yet collegial competition. “Preparation for the competition was way more than I expected, but I believe it was worth it as I learned valuable negotiation skills that I will take with me into my career.”

The college would like to extend a special thanks to the 30 lawyers, judges and mediators who volunteered to judge the competition, as well as Dentons LLP for being the primary sponsor of the event.

Photo gallery: ABA Negotiation Competition 2014