Brandeis School of Law Hosts the ABA Regional Negotiation Competition

Forty competitors from law schools throughout the South and Midwest traveled to Louisville the weekend of November 9–10 to compete in an ABA Regional Negotiation Competition, hosted by the Brandeis School of Law.

Tulane University School of Law boasted the best results, as Team L from its law school took home first place, while Team F from Tulane finished in fourth place. Team J from Cumberland Law School at Samford University and Team D from the University of Mississippi College of Law finished in second and third place, respectively.

“I will say that the competitors always impress me in that they have developed relatively effective negotiation skills quickly. They usually only have three to four weeks to prepare for the regionals,” said UofL Law Professor and the Boehl Chair in Property and Land Use Tony Arnold, who served as the Regional Competition Administrator, the main organizer and administrator of the competition at the Brandeis School of Law. “But I always see negotiating methods that any good negotiator would emulate.”

According to the American Bar Association, the competition aims to showcase the legal negotiations skills of participating law students, who, 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.

Fifty-five judges, composed of alumni, members of the legal community, and non-lawyer negotiators from the Louisville community dedicated their time and aided the competitors in their pursuit of practical professional skills development by giving feedback.

Arnold cited this reason as one of the most important benefits of the law school being able to serve as host for this competition, in addition to the opportunity for highlighting the strength of the negotiation program at the Brandeis School of Law, which has experienced success on the national stage in recent years, as well as sharing the beauty and rich history of a law school with former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’ presence so clearly felt around the building.  

Other regional competition hosts this year included William & Mary Law School, Emory University School of Law, the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and the William Mitchell College of Law, where UofL’s two negotiation teams competed so as to avoid any perceived bias that may have resulted with a panel of judges from Louisville. The team of Ryan Ballard and Jeff Hellman placed 6th overall, while the team of Emily Peeler and Patrick Markey placed 9th overall, out of 24 teams. UofL Adjunct Professor Mary Jo Gleason was the coach, and Alex Russell was the alternate and student coach. 

The first place team from each regional competition, of which there are ten, will advance to the National Finals, which are scheduled for Feb. 7–8 in Chicago. Additional invitations will be extended to teams to create a multiple of four.

“All the students who participate as competitors each year, or even as alternates and student assistant coaches, benefit greatly in the development of their negotiation skills, regardless of whether they advance to nationals,” Arnold said. “It's a really great skills competition, and I'm glad that [the Brandeis School of Law] participate[s] regularly.”