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ADR Team Takes Second Place in California Bar’s Environmental Negotiation Competition

March 19, 2013

ADR Team

The TJSL team of  Sean Kelley 2L and Lawrence Kleinman 3L, ably coached by Patrick Downing 3L and Khouloud Elmasari 2L, won second place and a $500 prize  in the 13th Annual California Bar Environmental Negotiation Competition held in San Francisco on March 15. This continued TJSL’s remarkable record of six final four appearances in the 13 years of the competition with two wins, three seconds and one fourth.

In this year’s competition Shawn Kelley and Lawrence Kleinman beat 18 other teams, including teams from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Hastings, UCLA, California Western, Golden Gate, Loyola, Santa Clara, USF and Western State. Also competing strongly for TJSL were Michael Morphew and Timothy Thiel, ably coached by Yvonne Ruiz and Rachel Weckhorst Espejo. They narrowly missed the final four.

The second place finish for Kelley and Kleinman was truly a team effort. They spent six weeks preparing for the competition, drilled by their coaches Patrick Downing and Khouloud Elmasari and sparring with a wide array of the ADR team members.  They practiced in a “fishbowl” in front of the entire team and got instant feedback from the whole ADR team.

The problem they negotiated was based on the water issues in California’s Delta, where the farmers and residents from northern and southern California vie for water supplies and where 80% of California’s rain falls but where only 20% of its population lives. Professor Spiegelman, the faculty advisor to the ADR team, said it was by far the most complex problem set he had seen in any competition over the many years has been coaching student negotiation team.

When they reached the final four, Kelley and Kleinman had one hour and 15 minutes to prepare a problem that was five single-spaced pages involving the paring down of a bond proposal from $10 billion to $7 billion. The bond issue involved six separate project titles and the parties had differing priorities on almost all of them. The team operation went into gear.

Kelley, Kleinman and Professor Spiegelman developed a strategy and system for presenting and moving on the numbers, Downing and Elmasari developed bullet points for the subject matter and priority of each project title, and Thiel and Weckhorst put together a list of the monetary ranges the team was authorized to agree to for each title. While the team members put the final touches on their preparation, Professor Spiegelman attended a conference on any possible clarification of the facts.  The judges commented on the amazing grasp of the problem the negotiators had.

“Although we have done well in many competitions over the years, this one stands out as the result of the most collaborative effort I have ever seen. Sean Kelley and Lawrence Kleinman performed extremely well and came up with innovative approaches to the problems, but they would not have accomplished what they did without the insightful and assertive coaching from Patrick Downing and Kholoud Elmasar; the support and friendly competition from Tim, Mike, Rachel and Yvonne; the feedback from the rest of the team; and the all-around positive vibe of this year’s ADR team,” said Professor Spiegelman.

“The prospects for the ADR teams future are extremely bright with a very talented group of returning members and a solid base of experience and success to build on for next year.”