W&L Negotiations Team Headed to National Championships

Lexington, VA Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Washington and Lee School of Law team of Mike Gardner '10 and Steve Mammarella '10 will compete at the American Bar Association's 2009 National Negotiations Competition, to be held in Boston February 14-15.

The ABA-sponsored competition begins in the fall each year with school-based competitions, followed by regional tournaments. The competition tests students' practical legal skills by emphasizing teamwork and the ability to solve disputes in a negotiation, pre-trial setting.

Gardner and Mammarella secured an invitation to Nationals following a second place finish at the regional competition held last November in Washington, D.C. The W&L team was the only team finishing in the top four that did not bring faculty advisors with them to the competition.

At the national competition, the W&L team will face off against 25 teams from law schools spread across the ABA's ten student division regions. Travelling to the competition with the team as coach will be Mike Chiusano '09, a member of the Moot Court board and administrator for the W&L negotiations competition.

Mike Gardner (left) and Steve Mammarella at the W&L negotiation competition finals in September.

During the negotiations competitions, teams of students acting as lawyers for opposing parties receive confidential information about how they can best represent their clients' interests. The teams work together in a limited time frame to find a compromise that is acceptable to both of their clients.

The disputes used for all of this year's competitions have centered on elder law. The problem for the national competition involves a disagreement between the second wife of man whose health is declining due to the effects of ALS and the man's sons from his first marriage. Among other issues, the attorneys for the parties need to resolve issues related to the man's long term care and personal finances.

Negotiation is one of several ABA-sponsored competitions that help students develop the kind of practice skills they will employ as professional attorneys. Other competitions include Appellate Advocacy, Mock Trial, Mediation, and Client Counseling.

For more information about Moot Court at Washington and Lee Law School, please visit http://law.wlu.edu/mootcourt.

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