Fordham Law

Fordham Law School captures first place in the Regional Rounds of the American Bar Association's Negotiation Competition

November 12, 2008

This year, Fordham recaptured the title of ABA Regional Negotiation Champions. Students from twenty teams representing twelve law schools throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut participated in the ABA Negotiation Region 2 Competition, which was held November 8-9, 2008, and hosted by Fordham Law School. Fordham sent three teams from the Dispute Resolution Society, including competitors Bryna Butler (’10) Michael Kanatake ('10) Justin Elliott (’10) Steven Ekechuku (’10) Michael Camarinos (’10) and Jordan Manekin (’10) to compete. After placing first overall on day one of the competition in what will be remembered as one of the most dominating performances in Fordham’s history, Dispute Resolution Society Negotiation teammates Michael Camarinos (’10) and Jordan Manekin (’10) finished the day just one point off a perfect score and received consistent and high praise from several accomplished judges. The team continued their excellent run on Sunday in the championship round and once again the DRS claimed first place and the title of ABA Negotiation Regional Champions.

Camarinos and Manekin will now compete against other regional champions at the ABA National Negotiation Competition. This year's national round will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, during the ABA's Midyear Meeting in February 2009.

Society competitors Bryna Butler (’10) Michael Kanatake ('10) Justin Elliott (’10) and Steven Ekechuku (’10) also made a strong showing at the Regional Negotiation Competition, all finishing in the top one third of competitors and earning excellent scores from several judges. Indeed, teammates Byrna Butler and Michael Kanatake missed the championship round by 2/3rd of a point.

Dispute Resolution Society Negotiations Editor Bhumi Zaveri ('09) coached all three of the negotiation teams. Zaveri, a Regional Negotiation competitor in 2007, characterized each team as “prepared, eloquent and remarkably quick on their feet.” Regarding the Championship performance, she said that “Jordan and Mike worked incredibly hard to prepare, and the judges recognized their talents at the table. Their dedication to the Dispute Resolution Society and the competition were rewarded when they earned the title of Regional Champions. Their work ethic was admirable.” Regarding the entire negotiation team, Zaveri said that, “This victory was very much a team effort. In managing a Negotiation Team comprised of eight competitors, I worked hard with each of them to hone their skills. And they worked hard together to constantly improve in each practice moot. I am proud of each of them.”

Dispute Resolution Society Chairman Kenneth Shaw (’09) also credited the teams' success to the guidance and dedication of faculty members, alumni, a strong editorial board, and fellow students, saying that “the teams truly benefited from the tremendous amount of support they received from Dispute Resolution Society members and faculty advisors.” After missing the National Negotiation Competition in 2007, the executive board members—Kenneth Shaw (’09), Maria Marinakis (’09) and Bevin Butler (’09)—worked to restructure the entire Society and changed everything from the competition class to the method of choosing competitors. “Indeed, it worked,” Shaw said. “Everyone, from the faculty and alumni, to the Dispute Resolution Society members contributed 110% of their effort to prepare our Negotiation Teams. So I must say that this is truly a Society victory. As you can imagine, I am pleased to see that we made the right decision, as evidenced by our success this early in the academic year.” Furthermore, Shaw contributes the success of the Dispute Resolution Society to its consistent chain of supportive alumni. “Society alumni were in attendance to observe the performances. We always make sure that the Fordham entourage at the competitions is a dominating presence. This competition was no exception,” Shaw said.

Society Moderator Professor Jacqueline M. Nolan-Haley, pivotal faculty supporter Professor Beth Schwartz, and new Dispute Resolution Society Professor Deborah Shapiro were instrumental the Fordham teams. The professors played a significant role in preparing the teams for competition, observing practice rounds, demonstrating effective negotiating techniques and offering practical feedback and advice.

Fordham Law School’s Dispute Resolution program placed in the top 10 of U.S. News and World Report's 2008 rankings of the best Dispute Resolution programs in the nation, according to the recently-released rankings. The Alternative Dispute Resolution program at Fordham was rated number 10, the same spot it held last year when it broke into the top 10 for the first time. Along with Fordham's Clinical Training program, the Dispute Resolution program is the top-ranked specialty program at Fordham Law School. The Alternative Dispute Resolution program at Fordham combines an integrated agenda of teaching, scholarship, and practice in conflict resolution within the national and international communities. In addition to the classroom and clinical experience, the law school's student-run Dispute Resolution Society competes in ABA-sponsored interschool competitions as well as international mediation and arbitration competitions. In 2008 the Society's teams placed third overall in the International Chamber of Commerce Commercial Mediation Competition in Paris, and also reached the semifinals of the Willem C. Vis (East) International Commercial Arbitration Competition in Hong Kong. Additionally, Fordham's Dispute Resolution Society hosts an annual symposium on current Dispute Resolution topics and also teaches a class on dispute resolution skills to seniors at the Martin Luther King, Jr. High School in New York City.