Students win regional negotiation competition

Region 2 winners
Regional winners Michael Ando 3L (left) and Erica Rocha 1L (right) stand with their coach Joshua Elliott JD ’13 (center)

Jan. 25, 2013 - The School of Law's Society for Dispute Resolution hosted the American Bar Association's annual Negotiation Competition for Region Two, which attracted 250 attendees for two days of competition Jan. 19-20, 2013. Six Quinnipiac students competed, with one pair, third-year Michael Ando and first-year Erica Rocha, earning the right to advance to the national competition.

"The competition was an excellent experience that provided exposure to a variety of negotiation approaches and styles," said Ando. "Involvement in the competition allowed me to apply the negotiation theory we study to real-world scenarios."

Saturday consisted of two rounds of competition, with Ando and Rocha advancing to the final round on Sunday with teams from Brooklyn Law School, Fordham University School of Law and Albany Law School. Four judges declared Ando and Rocha the Region Two Champions and they, with their coach, Joshua Elliott JD '13, will travel to Dallas for the national competition in February.

"The ABA Negotiation Competition is one of several student competitions sponsored by the ABA to round out the picture of the full array of skills that lawyers need to be truly competent; it's not just about their performances in the courtroom," said Carolyn Wilkes Kaas, associate professor of law. "Quinnipiac law students participate in, and excel at, client counseling, negotiation, mediation, and representation in mediation competitions, as well as moot court and mock trial."

A variety of law schools from Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts participated in the event for a total of 24 teams. Lawyers and judges from Connecticut and New York served as judges for the competition.

"We were fortunate to face teams with the type of competitors you would enjoy working with in real life," said Ando.

To qualify to represent Quinnipiac at the regional competition, students participated in an intramural competition, hosted by the SDR. During this preliminary round, students were evaluated for their skills in interviewing, counseling and negotiating on behalf of clients. Following the qualifying round, six competitors were chosen and participated in several hours of preparation, meeting with coaches and faculty to run practice negotiations against other students from the SDR. 

The Quinnipiac teams consisted of three pairs: Ando and Rocha; second-years Alex Soter and Joel Reitz; and third-years Rob Wojciechowski and Pat White. Elliott, SDR president, and alumnus Adam LaRue JD '11, volunteered as coaches for the Quinnipiac competitors. 

The American Bar Association has sponsored the negotiation competition for several years. This was the first time Quinnipiac served as a host for the competition. 

"Quinnipiac hosted the event because our SDR is so large and active," says Jennifer Gerarda Brown, professor of law. "The School of Law is very dedicated to promoting and helping students excel in alternative dispute resolution and we believe that our students learn and grow when they are able to interact with lawyers, judges and students from the broader region."