UM School of Law ABA Negotiation Competition Team Finishes First

2014 Negotiation TeamThe University of Montana School of Law ABA Negotiation Competition Team returned from Seattle University with a First Place finish in the American Bar Association sponsored Law School Regional Negotiation Competition November 7 and 8. Seattle University School of Law hosted this year’s event. The region includes law schools from throughout the Northwest and western Canada, with additional entries this year from other Rocky Mountain states and the Midwest.

UM Team Members Nick VandenBos, [Bozeman, MT] and Lindsay Thane [Missoula, MT], both 2Ls at the University of Montana School of Law, advanced to the final round appearance with the best score out of 24 teams following the opening Friday and Saturday sessions. “Negotiation competition tests preparation as well as a team’s ability to react to situations on the fly,” said VandenBos. “You prepare for months to be able to improvise – that’s what makes this kind of competition exciting. You learn to trust your partner and read your opponent.” Team partner Thane added, “Negotiations has been my most beneficial and rewarding experience in law school both in terms of the practical skills and relationships built as a team. The strength of our team in the way we challenge each other in practice and incorporate the feedback we receive into our approaches.”

Also competing at this year’s event were 3L teammates Samir Aarab, [Oslo, Norway] and Elizabeth Musick [Memphis, TN]. This year’s competition marks the final appearance of Aarab and Musick since both students will graduate from UMSL in spring 2015. Making their first appearance as alternates were Kathryn Ore [Missoula, MT] and Dylan Vinzant [Scappoose, OR], both 1Ls.

Together with team coach Klaus Sitte, the team prepared many long hours, culminating in the two day competition. Sitte serves as Adjunct Faculty at the School of Law, teaching Alternative Dispute Resolution and Negotiations, in addition to coaching the Negotiation Team. He has coached the Law School’s Negotiation Teams since 1990, with six previous teams competing at nationals and one international competition appearance. UM Negotiations Teams have placed 2nd and 3rd nationally.

The VandenBos/Thane entry into the final round marks the 18th time UM School of Law Negotiation Teams have advanced to compete among the remaining four finalists. VandenBos becomes the first UM School of Law student to appear two successive years in national competition. Musick wryly observed, “Sam and I have prepped more teams for nationals than any other previous UM Negotiation Team. That’s another first!” Aarab remarked, “I can say with confidence that we have a very strong negotiations program and I am proud to have been a part of it. Working with and being on this team has been very rewarding.”

For Vinzant and Ore, this year’s competition consisted of patient observation and reflection. Vinzant commented, “I find myself applying the negotiations principles and fundamentals we’ve learned in everyday interactions.” Ore echoed his remarks. “Watching our experienced Team Members was fascinating as they apply what we’ve learned. We’re already developing and crafting new ways to incorporate what we learned at Regionals into next year’s competition season.”

VandenBos and Thane will travel to national competition in Houston, TX in February 2015. National competition will bring together the top teams from the US and Canada. The competition is held in conjunction with the ABA Midwinter Meeting.