By Professor Paul Spiegelman
While students were starting Spring break, TJSL and the ADR Society was hosting and competing in the ABA’s Region 9 Representation in Mediation Competition on Saturday, March 10 and Sunday, March 11. The competition puts the students in the role of lawyer and client on both sides, with a mediator provided by the hosts. The goal of the competition is to help future lawyers develop their skills in representing clients involved in mediation, an increasingly popular way of settling disputes.
The schools sending teams to the competition were Arizona State School of Law, California Western School of Law, LaVerne School of Law, Phoenix Law School and Pepperdine School of Law. TJSL was represented by two teams: Team A: Matt Odgers and Nicholas Snow coached by Elizabeth Chu, Jared Drucker, and Matt Juhren and Team B: Vako Artinian and Esther Hyun, coached by David Keith, Emmanuel Rayes and Christine Tornatore. Vako and Esther (Team B) were undefeated and tied for first place in the preliminary rounds, but did not get to the finals because they lost a tie-breaker. Matt and Nick (Team A) achieved a perfect score from one judge in the first round and had the second highest overall point total in the team, but narrowly lost split decisions in each round. Thus, the TJSL teams were highly competitive and between them had a victory on one criterion or another over every team in the competition.
The overall winners of the competition were Jo-Ann Handy and Andrew High from Arizona State with Chelsea Peterson and Peter Kittle from Phoenix Law School runners-up.
In order to run a competition of this importance, it was necessary to recruit 39 judges and 13 mediators. With great help from the ADR and Civil Litigation Sections of the San Diego Bar, the National Conflict Resolution Center, San Diego Superior Court Civil Mediation Program and the Thomas Jefferson Alumni Association, we recruited an able and distinguished group of judges and mediators. Members of the Thomas Jefferson ADR Society provided timekeepers, hosts for each team and for the judges and mediators.
The competition was a huge success playing to rave reviews from the competitors, coaches, judges and mediators, many of whom have now volunteered to judge TJSL’s National Sports Law Negotiation Competition in late September.
Here are some of their comments:
"I have been coaching law school teams and sending them to competitions for the past 7 years, and this was the most well run and impressive competition I can remember."
- Law School Coach
"I don't know where the next ABA Negotiation Competition will be held, but I doubt it will compare to this one. You guys did a phenomenal job."
- Student competitor
"I have judged several competitions in my day, and this one was the most professionally run and most impressive competition I have had the pleasure of participating in."
Congratulations to everyone involved in the competition!