Published April 30, 2020
Rachel Vicario ’20 and Darian Wilkom '20 attend the International Chamber of Commerce’s 15th annual Commercial Mediation Competition in Paris.
On February 4, 2020, along with my partner Darian Wilkom, I traveled to Paris, France, to compete in the ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition. After traveling to both New York City and Vienna, Austria, Darian and I submitted our interest in the Paris competition to Professor Steven Sugarman. We were chosen to participate and spent several months preparing. While our previous trips were funded by the University, for Paris we secured private funding from two local attorneys, Lindy Korn and Josephine Greco. Such funding makes these trips possible, as it provides for airfare, hotel, and often, our food budget.
Competing in international competitions is an amazing experience. While the vast majority of our time abroad is spent competing or preparing for the next round, we find small chunks of time to relax and see the countries we are in. For example, while we were in Paris we were able to visit Versailles, the Catacombs, and the Eiffel Tower. These are opportunities I would not have had without this competition.
While I appreciate the ability to sightsee, the true benefit from these competitions comes from the knowledge we gain and the people we meet. We spend the week developing relationships with attorneys and mediators from all over the world. To learn about how the law works in other countries, how their court systems are structured, and how different people approach similar issues allows us to see the different perspectives by which people choose to approach their justice systems. We often maintain these relationships via email and Linked-In and have the opportunity to continue learning from these professionals for years to come. Similarly, we meet other students from all over the world and have the same opportunity, to meet and connect with them. We learn different skills from one another and our differing experiences teach us how to play to our strengths and diminish our weaknesses.
In addition to enriching our law school experience, participating in these competitions makes us better advocates and better litigators. Often, people believe certain types of legal practice exist within a vacuum. This could not be further from the truth. As an advocate for those who have experienced domestic violence, I have found the skills I gained in mediation lateral very well into working with survivors. Mediation is about focusing on your clients and ensuring they feel heard, which, at the end of the day, is all people really want.