The University of Montana School of Law ABA Negotiation Competition Team advanced to the final round of Region 10 Negotiation Competition held in Columbia, Missouri. Twenty law school teams, from throughout the northwest and Canada, competed in this Northwest Regional Negotiation Competition hosted this year by the University of Missouri School of Law in Columbia on November 4th and 5th. Stephen Adamson and Tara Keller, both second-year students, advanced to the final round held on Sunday, after bettering teams from Canada and the US on Saturday. Adamson and Keller faced Seattle University, last year’s national winner, in the final round. This is the fourth time in four years that UM Negotiation Teams have advanced to the final round. When UM’s Team last advanced to national competition in 2001, the Team ended second in the nation.

The UM Negotiation Competition Team also includes veteran competitors Heather Sather and Thad Seegmiller, third-year students, and first-year newcomers Charlie Cromwell and Lindsay Hecht.

The focus of the negotiation competition this year was Energy and Natural Resources. The UM teams represented a small municipality in discussions with a wind energy developer. In the final round, Adamson and Keller were assigned the opposing side. Each successive problem round overlays the negotiations with increasingly complex contractual disputes.

Klaus Sitte coached and prepared the UM teams for the morning and afternoon rounds since early September. Sitte serves as an adjunct faculty member of The University of Montana School of Law; he is the Executive Director of Montana Legal Services Association.

Adamson and Keller will represent the UM Law School at the National Finals in Miami on February 9 and 10. “Tara and Stephen were just terrific on Saturday. That momentum carried them through on Sunday, when fatigue and energy could have drained them,” said Sitte. “UM Law School teams traditionally make a good showing in negotiation competition. Not only do we fare well, but UM Teams faithfully employ 'getting to yes' principles, despite significant pressure to do otherwise.”

“It was a tremendous learning experience to compete with other teams from all over the Northwest and Canada," Adamson commented. Keller agreed. "I can't think of a more exciting way to end all our preparations," said Keller. "The competition was a way to test ourselves and our ability to communicate with teams with much different backgrounds, skills and attitudes," said Adamson. "What a tremendous opportunity!" said Keller. "We’re really looking forward to representing UM at the national competition.”