Students Advance to Semi-final Round in National ABA Negotiation Competition

February 16, 2017

BYU Law students Brynn Wistisen and Colton Matheson advanced as a team to the semi-final round at the ABA National Negotiation Competition in Chicago, Illinois, held February 3-4. 
“It was a privilege to represent BYU on the national stage and take BYU farther in this competition than it has ever gone before,” Matheson said.
The pair had to make it through two preliminary rounds and receive qualifying scores to be admitted to the semi-final round. Matheson credits a strong partnership to their success. “Brynn and I have been negotiation partners for over a year, so we are comfortable and confident working with one another,” Matheson said. “That was an integral part of our strategy and provided us with a significant advantage during the competition.”
The competition consisted of legal negotiation simulations in which student teams acted as lawyers to negotiate a series of legal problems. This year's topic was business law. The national competition included teams from 21 schools that had qualified at the regional competition. 
Participating in the competition provided opportunities to practice negotiation skills and learn more about what it takes to be effective. Matheson said that completing a fact scenario of an alleged breach of contract taught him the importance of trust. “We went in skeptical of the integrity of the other party. We had to spend a good deal of time fostering a relationship of trust before we could hammer out the specifics of the deal,” he said. “It is fundamental in effective negotiation to trust the party across the table.
In addition to trust, Matheson said that trusting your negotiation partner is vital for negotiation. “You or your partner may need to make a decision quickly without any time for sufficient discussion,” he said.