The four winning teams with Liam Mooney of Cameco (far right) and Gord Tarnowsky of Dentons LLP, Calgary (far left)

Students negotiate their way to victory

Third-year students Christina Judge and Jacey Safnuk claimed first place in the College of Law’s 2017 negotiation competition on Oct 27.

Their team was one of 20 that took part in the competition, sponsored by Dentons Canada and Cameco, which saw students tackle a plausible legal scenario for a taste of what they would be expected to do as business lawyers.

Joining Judge and Safnuk on the victors list were Antonela Cicko and Kaylee Mitchell, who placed second, Mason Scott and Landon Squires, who were third, and fourth place went to Lindsey Knibbs and Cheryl Giesbrecht.

On the night, teams of two students were paired off, and given opposing clients in a business partnership agreement. They were asked to negotiate the terms of the agreement, with the simple objective of obtaining the best possible result for the people they were representing.

A panel of three judges* assessed the teams’ performances against seven criteria; preparedness for the negotiation, ability to adapt strategy during the negotiation, how well the outcome served the client, how well the team worked together, relationship with the opposing team, and, following the negotiation, the team’s self-assessment of its own performance. The winning team’s negotiation had the best combination of all these criteria.

 “This competition was a unique chance for students to get feedback on their negotiation performance from experienced, successful lawyers,” explained College of Law Prof. Micheala Keet, who coordinated the competition. “We were fortunate to have as judges a great mix of lawyers working in the corporate sector and in private practice, some with over 30 years of experience, who shared their perspectives with our teams.”

Unsurprisingly, students recognized the contest as a valuable learning opportunity, and registration for the 20 spots filled in under five minutes.

Law school students from across the country have been competing in similar competitions, which will culminate in national finals at the College of Law on March 2 and 3, 2018.

Cicko and Mitchell will join Judge and Safnuk as the two Usask Law teams competing against winners from fellow law schools when the college hosts the finals next year.

*The panel of judges was as follows:

George Antonopoulos, Dentons LLP
Jamie Dickson, Des Nedhe Development
Joe Fingerote, TKB Law
Kathryn Ford, retired lawyer and mediator
Cameron Klein, WMCZ Lawyers
Rob McKinnon, Federated Co-op
Liam Mooney, Cameco
Serena Palmer, AREVA
Charmain Panko, Panko collaborative law and mediation
Bernie Roth, Dentons LLP
Arjun Shankar, Bergerman Smith LLP
Gord Tarnowsky, Dentons LLP
Patrick Trumpy, Pembina Pipeline Corp
Grace Waschuk, Dentons LLP
Clint Weiland, PotashCorp

2017 negotiation competition teams with Liam Mooney of Cameco and Gord Tarnowsky of Dentons LLP, Calgary.