By Professor Paul Spiegelman
Over a month of practice and preparation culminated in an impressive finish from both teams TJSL’s sent to the annual ABA Regional Negotiation Competition at the University of California at Berkeley held November 8th and 9th.
The two teams were: (1) Lorena Garza (3L) and Lucia Valenzuela (2L) (coached by Tara Almazan Mallis (3L)) and (2) Sam Ehrlich (3L) and Rachel Weckhorst Espejo (3L) (coached by Khouloud Elmasri (3L)).
In the preliminary rounds, Lorena and Lucia tied for 1st overall out of 24 teams while Sam and Rachel placed a close 4th, beating out teams from such schools as Stanford, UCLA, the University of San Diego, UC Hastings, and California Western School of Law. With these outstanding performances, both teams reached the final round on Saturday morning. The real fun started when our teams were given the fact patterns at 7pm, a mere 14 hours before they would have to negotiate on Saturday morning. With faculty supervisor Professor Paul Spiegelman in Los Angeles at the National Moot Court Competition, Tara Almazan Mallis took over the duties of organizing the preparation for the finals, sending Professor Spiegelman the problem and acting as mentor to the teams and liaison between Professor Spiegelman and both teams.
Both teams turned in exceptional performances on Saturday morning that resulted in a three-way tie for first with host school Berkeley. While the teams narrowly missed out on winning the entire competition after the tie was broken by scores on a supplemental skills evaluation sheet, the teams’ respective performances resulted in a 2nd place finish for Lorena and Lucia while Sam and Rachel took 3rd. This means that Lorena-Lucia, and, possibly Sam-Rachel are headed to Chicago for the National Championship on February 7 and 8, 2014. Said Professor Spiegelman, “this was a remarkable team effort by both teams and their coaches. Our teams demonstrated superior skills at planning, negotiating and evaluating themselves and topped the field of twenty-four strong teams in the most prestigious negotiation competition in the country. It took a remarkable team effort from the teams, the coaches, the faculty supervisor and the assistance of Professor Waldman who gave advice at several practice sessions. This was our best performance at the ABA Regionals since 2006 when TJSL sent two teams to Nationals and they finished fourth and fifth in the nation. Based on the skills and teamwork exhibited this weekend, an even stronger finish at Nationals is not out of the question.”
We are proud of the teams’ accomplishments and are excited for the future of the ADRS at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. We will host new member try-outs for the upcoming semester next Sunday, November 17th.