BYU Law hosted the American Bar Association (ABA) Law Student Division Region 8 Negotiation Competition on November 13 and 14. The competition was organized by BYU Law’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Society.
Teams from around the country came to compete and represent their law school. BYU Law had two teams participate: Abby McKeon and Kimi Orr, and Brandon Remington and Kate McKeen. Both teams were coached by BYU Law Professor Ben Cook.
According to the ABA, “The aim of the competition is to promote greater interest among law students in negotiation and provide a way for them to practice and improve their negotiation skills.”
Participating law students simulated legal negotiations where they competed as a team of two lawyers. They 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. Students were faced with the same general topic at each level but were given new nuances as they progressed.
Competition judges were members of the Utah Bar and other local professionals who commonly practice negotiation cases. Andee DeVore, who is the ADR Society President, explained that the judges graded participants based on their legal analysis, poise, creativity, communication, and negotiation skills.
After the first day of competition, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, St. Mary's, and the University of Utah advanced to the final round. Texas Tech won the competition Saturday and will be advancing to the National Negotiations Finals Competition.
“This competition provides students with a unique opportunity to develop practical skills that will enable them to become proficient attorneys,” DeVore said. “It is also an excellent opportunity for members of the Utah Bar to actively instruct and participate in the development of the next generation of lawyers.”
DeVore and her committee spent countless hours preparing to host this event. She closed saying, “As the ADR Society president, it has been a pleasure to plan for this competition. In today's society where it is increasingly easy to be contentious with others whom we may have issue, it is comforting to know there are people actively learning skills that will help them work through difficult problems with understanding and balance.”