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Negotiation Team competes in national finals

The team with an ABA official. Tremaine Reese, chair, ABA Law Student Division, with the team. Copyright 2012© by the American Bar Association. Reprinted with permission.

(Boston, 3/26/12)  New England Law | Boston: New England Law | Boston’s moot court negotiation team has vaulted to the national level in only its second year of existence.  Two hundred and twenty-eight teams from Canada and the United States began the annual American Bar Association Law Student Division competition at the regional level in November. After finishing as runner-up in Region 1, Patrick Audley ‘14 and Keith Hampe ’14 advanced in February to the national finals in New Orleans, where they placed eighth among 24 teams. 

The negotiation competition simulates legal negotiations in which law students, acting as lawyers, negotiate a series of legal problems. The simulations consist of a common set of facts known by all participants and confidential information known only to the participants representing a particular side. All of the simulations deal with the same general topic, but the negotiation situation varies with each round and level of the competition.
(L-R) Audley and HampePatrick Audley ‘14 and Keith Hampe ’14
The competition was held in conjunction with the ABA midyear meeting. The problem-solving, interest-based (or “win-win bargaining”) negotiation hypotheticals featured a fictional college that wanted to purchase a property from an unmotivated seller. Competitors represented the school as it attempted to gain a zoning variance and, later, as it tried to prevent a related institution from falling into bankruptcy.
“As a former trial lawyer, having tried criminal and civil cases, I was often asked to seek mediation,” says team coach Professor Robert Coulthard, who also directs the law school’s Bar Examination Preparation Program. “Negotiation skills and a basic understanding of the dispute resolution process are critical to young lawyers’ success in today’s marketplace, which makes this type of competition so valuable.” The competitors were also advised by adjunct professors Michele Dorsey and Dawn Effron and by alumni volunteers.
Professor Coulthard Professor Coulthard, team coach
“The competition was a wonderful experience,” said Audley. “It was great to use the knowledge we have acquired in law school outside of the classroom setting. I was not previously involved in negotiations or related fields, so it was interesting to develop a new skill and discover a new interest.”
Hampe added, “The experiences leading up to and during the competition will undoubtedly benefit us in the years ahead with our future endeavors.”
Both students credited Professor Coulthard and the others who provided training and assistance, including the law school’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) student group, which organized New England Law’s in-school competition.
The law school sponsors several teams that compete in regional and national advocacy events. Team membership is generally open to upper-level students, and coaching sessions are conducted several times a week in the run-up to a competition.

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