Students entered the annual BYU Law Negotiations Competition to put their arbitrating skills to the test and gain experience. Each team consisted of two law students who tag-teamed the various scenarios according to assigned prompts. The teams then faced each other to see who would advance.
The final round saw four teams going against each other in a scenario where an employee had been fired by a food company. One team represented the company’s interests while the other team fought for the employee’s severance package and public image.
After the three rounds of competition the winners, Kimberlie Orr and Abby McKeon on one team, and Monique Mullenaux and Brandon Remington on the other, will now prepare for regionals where they will compete against other schools in the West. If either team wins at regionals they will advance to a national competition.
Not only were the teams judged based on how they addressed the different scenarios, they could lose or gain points depending on their responses to the students on the other side of the argument.
“The hardest part about preparing for this competition was trying to anticipate what the other party would be seeking and brainstorming mutually beneficial alternatives to present to the other side,” McKeon said.
Teamwork was a big part of this competition and since the students were only given 15-20 minutes to prepare for each round, some of their tactics had to be adapted on the fly. “Abby and I just trusted each other. We backed each other up no matter what the other person said,” Orr said.
After each round, while waiting for results, the teams could reflect on what worked and what didn’t. “We assessed after each round if there was anything about the way we were working together that wasn’t effective,” Mullenaux said.
“In each round, we established who would initiate the conversation, but other than that it was just a matter of listening to my partner and waiting until she was done asking a question or her matter had been addressed before I asked a different question,” McKeon said.