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W&L Negotiations Team Takes Second at Regional Competition

The Washington and Lee University School of Law team of second year students Mike Gardner of Martinsville, Va., and Steve Mammarella of Lexington, Va., placed second at the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Regional Negotiations Competition, held Nov. 1 in Washington, D.C. Gardner and Mammarella finished behind a team from Liberty University School of Law.

Also representing the W&L School of Law at the competition was the team of second year students John Sorock of Wilmette, Ill., and Shannon Sherrill of Lexington, Va., winners of the School’s Robert J. Grey Negotiations competition held earlier this year. In all 28 teams competed at the regional event. The W&L team was the only team finishing in the top four that did not bring faculty advisors with them to the competition.

The National Negotiations Competition will be held February 14-15, 2009, in Boston, Mass. The ABA has not yet determined which teams from the regional competitions will move on to the final competition.

The ABA Negotiations Competition helps students develop practical legal skills and emphasizes teamwork and the ability to resolve disputes in a negotiation setting. During the competition, teams of students acting as lawyers for opposing parties receive confidential information about how they can best represent their clients’ interests. The teams work together in a limited time frame to find a compromise that is acceptable to both of their clients.

The problem for this year’s competition involved an elder law issue. On one side of the dispute were attorneys representing an elderly woman whose competency to make decisions regarding her assets had come into question. The W&L teams represented the elderly woman’s daughter, who felt that some of the recent decisions regarding her mother’s estate might have been unduly influenced by interested third parties.

Negotiations is one of several ABA-sponsored competitions that help students develop the kind of practice skills they will employ as professional attorneys. Other competitions include Appellate Advocacy, Mock Trial, Mediation and Client Counseling. For more information about Moot Court at Washington and Lee Law School, please visit http://law.wlu.edu/mootcourt.