How to Participate

Representation in Mediation Competition and

1-Credit “Advocacy in Mediation” Optional Course

UB Law School’s “Representation in Mediation Competition” is a great practical learning experience for students.  Its popularity among students and lawyers in our community has grown considerably over the last several years (last year we had 44 law student competitors and 68 lawyer volunteers). This year’s competition will be held on Saturday, November 19th from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Because an increasing number of civil legal cases are referred to mediation by the courts, or mediation is agreed to by both sides of a legal dispute, it is vital that the lawyer accompanying his or her client to the mediation table has the knowledge and skill-set necessary to maximize the client’s results in this context.  This Competition is great practice for future lawyers to hone their attorney advocacy and negotiation skills in a mediation setting. The interaction between lawyer and client and the use of interest-based problem solving is the focus of the Representation in Mediation Competition.

Last November we ran this Competition virtually and it turned out to be quite successful, with only limited technological difficulties.  This year, due to safety concerns and to maximize volunteer attorney and student competitor turnout, we will again run the Competition virtually.  Given the fact that many attorneys are attending virtual mediations with their clients in the real world and will continue to do so even after the pandemic is just a bad memory, this Competition is a practical learning experience that is incredibly valuable!

Participation is limited to 2nd and 3rd year law students.  But we need the help of many 1st year students to run the Competition by assisting the volunteer lawyers in each mediation session with the timing and rules (and learn how the Competition works for your own participation next year). So 1Ls are encouraged to contact one of the student ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) Society officers (listed below) to offer your help!

Each team consists of 2 law students—1 playing the role of the attorney and 1 playing the role of the client. The Competition consists of two rounds.  The teams are given two short fact patterns (a different one for each round) 2 to 3 weeks prior to the Competition. The scenarios are distributed by the Dispute Resolution Section of the American Bar Association (“ABA”).  Teams then strategize and prepare to negotiate during the two mediation sessions.  On the day of the Competition, the teams engage in negotiations with an opposing attorney-client team, facilitated by a professional mediator from the community. Three or more lawyers and/or other professionals with mediation advocacy knowledge are present to score the rounds and give feedback to the teams.  The students are judged on preparation, teamwork, how well the interests of the client are represented, how well the mediation process is used to promote those interests, and other elements of effective attorney advocacy in mediation as set forth in ABA scoring criteria.

Please note, our competition will follow the ABA 2021-2022 Representation in Mediation Competition rules that have not yet been released at this time. The new rules will be provided to participants once the ABA releases them.  The rules this year will probably be very similar to last year’s rules, so if you would like to get an idea of rules generally, go to the following ABA link:

https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/events/dispute_resolution/mediation-competition/2021-mediation-competition-rules.pdf

     The two winning teams will represent our law school at the ABA Regional Representation in Mediation Competition in March 2023.  If one of our teams wins the Regionals, that team will compete in the ABA National Competition in April 2023.  We have won the Regionals in the past, allowing us to be one of only ten teams to compete in the Nationals!

There is no requirement that students have any education or background in mediation or negotiation to participate in this Competition.   

Deadline to register for the Competition:  Wednesday at noon, October 12th.

Note

If you are NOT taking the one-credit Advocacy in Mediation Course (referenced below), late team registrations to participate in the Competition sent directly to Professor Sugarman may be considered.

There are 2 ways to participate in the Representation in Mediation Competition:

If there are any questions or concerns, please contact:

President: Julia Rose  julrose@buffalo.edu
Vice President
:  Eric Klementowski ebklemen@buffalo.edu
Secretary
:  Victoria Grant-Yim, vlpannel@buffalo.edu
Treasurer
:  [TBA]

OR email the Advocacy Center at law-advocacy@buffalo.edu or Professor Sugarman at sugarmanmediate@gmail.com.