Washington and Lee University will host the regional Representation in Mediation Competition on Feb. 27-28 at the School of Law.
The competition is sponsored by the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution and is designed to acquaint the law student participants with advocacy skills in alternative dispute resolution processes, specifically representation of clients in mediation. Teams from the law schools at W&L, William & Mary, Liberty, Regent, Richmond, and Stetson will participate in the competition.
There are two rounds during the competition. Round one will involve a child-custody matter and round two will focus on issues associated with an employment contract. The first place team at each regional round automatically advances to the National Competition.
During the competition, students participate in teams of two, with one student playing the role of the attorney and the other acting as the client. The two teams meet in the presence of a mediator and work towards resolution of their difficulties. The competitors are judged on the effective combination of advocacy skills and problem-solving. Participants are not expected to sacrifice their client's interests in order to be collaborative.
The competition begins with an internal competition at each school to select a team or teams to advance to the regional level. W&L will enter two teams in the regional round. The team of Sabina Thaler '11L and Stacey Valentine '11L and the team of Jessica Guzik '11L and Christy Harrison '11L finished first and second, respectively, in the W&L competition. They will be coached by Jonathan Lockwood '10L, a member of the Moot Court Board at W&L.
In recent years, alternative dispute resolution has become more integrated in the courts and pre-trial procedures in an effort to head off much more costly litigation. It is very likely that during their careers attorneys will have many cases referred to these processes.