VLS Team Advances to ABA National Negotiation Competition
November 16, 2010
Vermont Law School's top dispute resolution team will compete in the national finals of the American Bar Association's annual Negotiation Competition in February.
VLS's two dispute resolution teams posted a strong showing Nov. 13 when they both made the final four at the ABA regional competition hosted by Harvard Law School, which included 16 teams. Four teams advanced to the regional final round, including VLS students Jordan Wimpy '12 and Kayvon Hejazi '12, who finished in second place, and Christopher Foy '12 and Matthew Harold '12, who finished fourth. Boston College and Boston University finished first and third, respectively.
ABA officials invited VLS and other regional second-place finishers to participate in the national finals Feb. 11-12 in Atlanta. "This is very exciting news," said Associate Professor Laurie Beyranevan, who along with Assistant Professor Hillary Hoffmann are the teams' coaches.
"Kayvon and I had a wonderful time at the regional competition," Wimpy said. "It was nice to finally utilize the hard work and practice in a competitive forum, and achieving the success was a wonderful bonus. It was pleasure to represent VLS and we are very appreciative of all the contributions made by team members, faculty and especially our coaches."
Associate Professor Sean Nolon, who is director of the law school's Dispute Resolution Program, said he has high expectations for Wimpy and Hejazi at the nationals. He praised the two teams and their coaches for their performance at the regionals. "The coaches, the teams and the many members of the Dispute Resolution Society who helped them prepare through moots over the last few weeks have all made Vermont Law School proud," Nolon said.
Beyranevand said it was an impressive accomplishment for VLS to secure two of the four spots in the regional final round. "Both teams did extremely well," she said. "At the end of the first round, Matt and Chris came in first place of all 16 teams. As soon as they announced that, we were all very excited, so you can only imagine our surprise when the fourth team mentioned to move forward to the final round was Jordan and Kayvon."
With two teams in the regional final four, Beyranevand found herself in the unusual position of having to flip a coin to determine which of the teams would compete first on Sunday -- competing second gives a team the advantage of additional preparation time. "Once we found out we were advancing to the final round, the teams were given additional confidential facts, which they needed to work with on Saturday night to prepare for the final round on Sunday morning," she said.
The VLS teams were different in their collective styles, but both handled themselves with "professionalism, tremendous competence and retained their composure when facing some pretty assertive negotiators," Beyranevand said. "Our teams' final rounds of negotiations each played out incredibly differently. Kayvon and Jordan were paired against a team that was very thoughtful and meticulous in their approach. The conversation in that negotiation was less competitive, although each team held their confidential information pretty close. Matt and Chris faced a team that Kayvon and Jordan had actually competed against the first day, and that team was incredibly no-nonsense, so the negotiation proceeded very differently."
Beyranevand said she was impressed with the sophistication displayed by both VLS teams. "They worked very hard prepping for the competition prior to and during the time we were in Boston together. Rather than watching a group of students ‘perform' a negotiation, it felt very much like I had a birds-eye view of two teams of experienced lawyers negotiating across the table."
The Dispute Resolution Society scored another victory Oct. 2-3 in New York City when Laura Colangelo '12, Ruth White '12 and Hannah Jannicelli '11 won the negotiation round of the Securities Dispute Resolution Triathlon at St. John's Law School. They outscored 22 other law schools and faced Cornell when they put in their winning performance.
VLS won the ABA regional negotiation competition in 2000 and 2004 and the national competition in 2005. VLS also won the ABA regional client counseling competition in 2007.
Learn more about the Dispute Resolution Program at Vermont Law School.