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TJSL ADR Team 2014-2015

November 28, 2014

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 of that and compete for one of TJSL’s co-curricular teams.

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 small teams are selected from within the large group to compete at various events.

On October 11th, ADR teams competed at the Southwestern Law School Entertainment Law Negotiation Competition in Los Angeles. TJSL 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, as it presented some of the same issues I would see in sports.”

The ADR team 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 feed back 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.

The next event coming up for the ADR team is the American Bar Association’s Regional Negotiation Competition at Chapman School of Law on November 1st. Theo Montgomery, Brandon Theus, Taelor Cole and Puneet Layal, all 2Ls, will compete against teams from around our region on tort related problems. If they make it to the next round, the teams will represent our region in Texas at the national competition in February 2015.


Congratulations to the ADR competitors who went to Chapman and represented the TJSL ADR team. They did so well. On Saturday, November 1st, members of the ADR team competed at Chapman School of Law in Orange, CA.

2Ls, Theo Montgomery and Brandon Theus, were coached by 3Ls, Frances Moldanado-Luna and Michelle Evenson. Montgomery and Theus were fluid in their presentations, provided excellent analyses of the strength of their legal positions and posed pointed and useful questions to help their team place 15th overall.

2Ls, Taelor Cole and Puneet Layal, coached by Alex Green and Dane Watson, 3Ls, advanced to Sunday’s semi-finals and ended up placing 4th in the region.

“Getting ready for the final round was nothing short of insane,” said Layal. “We had about 15 hours to prepare for a problem that would normally need 3 weeks for preparation.”

“It was one of the most intense brainstorming sessions I had ever been a part of,” said Layal. “Taelor and I were lucky we had Professor Waldman and our coaches to help us create a strategy that worked really well for us in the finals.”

First place went Berkley School of Law, second went to Southwestern, and third went to Chapman. The National competition will be held in Texas in February.

If you are interested in trying out for ADR email If you attended one of the three information meetings, get ready, because ADR tryouts are set for Saturday, November 15th!