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ADR Team Teaches Important Professional Skills for Future Attorneys

October 31, 2014

By Michelle Evenson, 3L member of ADR

Everyone in law school knows how many hours are spent reading, writing papers, rushing to internships, and balancing friends and family. But only a few law students know what it’s like to do all that and compete for one of TJSL’s co-curricular teams.

Last year, ADR’s teams made it to the ABA Negotiation Competition Finals, and there placed in the top ten. The ADR team consistently places in the top teams at competitions that include teams form some of the most prestigious schools in the nation.

Alternative dispute resolution is just what it sounds like; it’s an alternative to litigation. ADR involves negotiation, mediation and arbitration. The team meets each week to develop the skills involved in ADR and then within the large group small teams are selected to compete at various events.

On October 11, ADR teams competed at the Southwestern Law School Entertainment Law Negotiation Competition in Los Angeles. The teams placed well – 2Ls, Harrison Gaines and Misuraca placed in the top 10, and 3Ls Alexander Green and Chelsea Grover placed in the top 20 out of 35 teams from around the country.

“I can’t think of any negatives to competing, I really enjoy the opportunity,” said Misuraca. “I tried out for ADR in my first semester of school because I wanted to learn how to properly negotiate. I knew that someday this skill would be invaluable as a basketball agent.”

“I see ADR playing a huge role in my future as an attorney because in order to get deals done I will need to apply the strategies I’ve learned in ADR,” said Gaines. “The Entertainment Competition is synonymous with sports. Therefore, I wanted to make sure I did the competition presented some of the same issues I would see in sports.”

ADR enters about two competitions per semester. This gives 8 to 10 members of the large team a chance to compete or coach. One of the most unique things about ADR is that, while the team has a faculty advisor, the students on the team are in charge of its overall success.

Professor Ellen Waldman joined the ADR team this year as its advisor. Professor Waldman’s background in negotiation and mediation help ADR members focus their skill building. But after Professor Waldman steps away, it’s up to the individual teams and their coach or coaches to hone the skills and master the negotiation problem.

So while Professor Waldman plays an important role in getting the large ADR team up to speed on techniques for negotiation, it’s the team’s coaches who write counter facts, set up spar times, give feedback and boost competitor confidence right up until they sit down to negotiate.

“The best part about coaching is seeing the transformation from the first spar to the last,” said Taelor Cole, 2L member. But, Cole added with a laugh, the “worst part about coaching is dealing with the inevitable melt-down from the team.”

Each member’s reasoning for trying out for ADR is similar. We all want to use it later as attorneys. Whether it is as an agent, in business, or in criminal proceedings, the skills we are developing are real world applicable. These are the skills employers most want.

Coming up for the ADR team is the American Bar Association’s Regional Negotiation Competition at Chapman on November 1. Theo Montgomery, Brandon Theus, Taelor Cole and Puneet Layal, all 2Ls, will compete against teams from around our region on problems that are tort related. If they make it to the next round, the teams will represent our region in Texas at the National competition in February.

If you are interested in trying out for ADR email You must attend one of the three informational meetings Monday, November 3 from 12-1 p.m. in room 229; Monday, November 3rd from 3-4 p.m., or Wednesday, November 5 from 4-5 p.m. in room 225. Tryouts will be Saturday, November 15.