Negotiations Team Places First

2015 Negotiations TeamThe Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana’s ABA Negotiation Competition Team returned from Calgary, Alberta, with a first place finish in the ABA-sponsored Law School Regional Negotiation Competition held November 7, 2015. The University of Calgary Faculty of Law hosted this year’s regional event for the twenty competing teams. UM’s region includes law schools from throughout the northwest and Canada, with additional entries this year from Wyoming and California.

This year marks the fifth year in a row for the UM team to advance to the final round. Team members Nick VandenBos ’16 [Bozeman] and Lindsay Thane ’16 [Missoula] advanced to their second final round appearance in two years. No other UM law school duo has ever appeared twice in consecutive years in regional competition. The Thane/VandenBos team becomes the first to return back-to-back first place finishes as well. VandenBos and Thane will continue their performance by being the first UM team to consecutively appear at national competition.

The 1L team of Marianne Peters ’18 [Dillon] and Asa Hohman ’18 [Missoula] simultaneously advanced to the final round, finishing with a tie for third place. The last time two UM teams appeared in the final round of the regional competition was 2007. “This year’s competition really put our team’s ability to react quickly to the test,” said Peters. “We were given less than two hours to become familiar with the facts for the final round. That was challenging.” Team partner Hohman added, “We quickly realized we had the skills. Now we only needed to learn the facts—fast.”

Thane becomes only the second team member to appear in two consecutive years in the regional final round, followed by two consecutive appearances at nationals. VandenBos set the mark with his third consecutive appearance in the final round, culminating in three consecutive invitations to nationals.

Team Coach Klaus Sitte remarked, “That hasn’t happened in the 30 years the law school has fielded teams in the competition. Both Lindsay and Nick’s records will stand for many years.” Sitte serves as an adjunct faculty member at the School of Law, teaching Alternative Dispute Resolution and Negotiation, along with coaching the negotiation team. He has coached the school’s negotiation teams since 1990, with seven previous teams competing at nationals and one international competition appearance. UM negotiations teams have placed second and third nationally in previous years.

The Thane/VandenBos entry into the final round marks the nineteenth time UM negotiation teams have advanced to compete among the remaining four regional finalists.

Both Thane and VandenBos are quick to credit the rest of the team for their remarkable performance. “We would not have been able to get this far without the incredible support and effort of all six team members,” said Thane. “There’s no doubt that the dedication and hard work of the entire team members it what sets UM’s team apart,” added VandenBos.

Making their first appearances this year were Kathryn Ore ’17 [Missoula] and Frans Andersson ’17 [Missoula]. Ore was an alternate team member last year, while Andersson is new to the team for the current year. Ore commented, “It was a very intense competition this year, with a very demanding schedule. But, with all of the team practice, it’s good to see our efforts pay off.” Andersson, agreed, adding, “This intense one-day schedule could sap all your energy. We were so glad we were well prepared.”

Sitte added, “This is such a fun group of people to work with and coach. They’re so eager, so committed and so talented.” Thane and VandenBos will take a short break before preparing for the February 2016 national competition in San Diego, California.

Pictured left to right: Coach Klaus Sitte, Frans Andersson ‘17, Kathryn Ore ‘17, Lindsay Thane ‘16, Nick VandenBos ‘16, Marianne Peters ‘18, and Asa Hohman ’18.