Here at Georgia we're exploring fielding a team for the ABA Law Student Division's Negotiation Competition. The idea is to offer a co-curricular, along the lines of moot court and mock trial, for students who aren't planning to go into litigation. Even future litigators may be interested, given that so much of litigation practice involves settlement negotiations. I'd be interested in hearing from folks, via the comments or offline, about their experiences with this competition or similar ones.
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1. Posted by Christine on August 23, 2008 @ 10:15 | Permalink
Usha, I judged a negotiation competition many years ago, and my impression was that it was tailored to litigation settlement more than transactional negotiations. Similar to moot court and mock trial, negotiation competitions are only vaguely related to real world negotiations, but even less so. I also remember the competition as being fairly zero-sum along a number of "issue" axes, which is not indicative of transactional negotiations at all.
2. Posted by Gordon Smith on August 23, 2008 @ 14:48 | Permalink
I had a similar experience to Christine's, including the fact that it was many years ago. The only thing I would add is that the judging seemed to be based almost exclusively on form rather than substance. It really didn't matter what kind of deal you struck, as long as you looked good doing it. Again, I only did this a couple of years and it was over a decade ago, but that experience was enough to convince me to give up on the competition.
3. Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on August 24, 2008 @ 16:05 | Permalink
I too have coached and judged some of these competitions, with the same "meh" reaction. Isn't a negotiation competition an oxymoron? The idea of negotiating is getting to yes - win-win. This tends to breed one-upmanship.