The UC College of Law’s new Center for Practice in Negotiation and Problem Solving celebrated a landmark victory with a first-place finish nationally by a pair of UC law students in an American Bar Association student competition.
The team of Patricia Foster and Susan Coan took first place at the 2003 National Representation in Mediation Competition, a three-day event held March 19-21 in San Antonio, Texas. The competition was held in conjunction with the national meeting of the ABA’s Section of Dispute Resolution.
The two first-year law students beat out 88 teams from 46 different law schools to win the competition. Tutored by a team led by Marjorie C. Aaron, executive director of the Center for Practice in Negotiation and Problem Solving and a visiting assistant professor of law, and adjunct professor James Lawrence, Foster and Coan might have been considered underdogs in the Midwestern Region by the ABA Section. UC’s dispute resolution program is younger and smaller than comparable programs at Ohio State University, University of Missouri and Marquette.
Nevertheless, "Patricia Foster and Susan Coan thoroughly integrated the logic and the method of mediation, which enabled them to respond flexibly and brilliantly to different mediation challenges presented in the competition," said Aaron, who also credited several other local judges and lawyers with helping in the team’s preparation.
For each round of the national competition, students were presented with a scenario involving a legal dispute. They then played the roles of the client and attorney on one side of the case and competed against a team playing client and attorney for the other side. The two teams and a neutral third party, a mediator, later spent 75 minutes negotiating a settlement. The judges evaluated not only the result of the settlement, but also the strategies employed.
"The College of Law is proud of our national champions," said Joseph P. Tomain, dean of the UC College of Law. "The poise, intelligence, and professionalism of our students is deeply appreciated and highly valued. The character traits that they have shown throughout not only the competition but also throughout their legal education guarantees that they will be successful in whichever career paths they choose."