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February 4, 2013

Oregon Law Students to Compete in National Negotiation Competition

Feb. 8 and 9, University of Oregon School of Law Students Kalynn Alley and Lara Smith will be competing in the national finals of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Law Student Division Negotiation Competition in Dallas, Texas. Alley and Smith will be negotiating an agreement on behalf of a client in front of a panel of judges. The two women qualified for the national competition after winning the intra-school competition among UO Law students, and the ABA’s regional competition for Region 10, which took place at Oregon Law in November 2012. They will be contending against the top 24 teams in the nation.

The competition was founded to simulate a real-life legal negotiation in order to build students’ skills and confidence in negotiation and dispute resolution. On Feb. 8, there will be two general rounds, giving way to a semifinal round and championship round on Feb. 9.

To prepare for the competition, the team is reviewing the fact sheet they were provided by the ABA and engaging in mock negotiations with Joshua Gordon, director of the law school’s Competition Not Conflict program. They’ve also contacted last year’s team, which included students Sam Whalen and Matt Heintz, for advice. Last year, Smith participated in the competition, and although her team didn’t win, she considers the experience a “crash course” in understanding the ins and outs of what is expected of each participating team. She highly recommends that students interested in legal negotiation participate in the competition and similar programs while in school.

Smith also strongly recommends participating in Moot Court competitions. “That’s the best way to learn,” she said. “You can read about it, but it’s another thing to actually do it.”

Alley is a “double duck” who graduated from the University of Oregon in 2011 with dual degrees in Sociology and Planning, Public Policy and Management. Alley was already living in Oregon and greatly respected the Oregon Law alumni she had met. She knew she wanted to attend a state school so Oregon Law was the logical choice.

Smith is involved in many student groups, including Law and Intellectual Property (LIP), and the Law and Entrepreneurship Student Association (LESA). She is also a staff editor for the Oregon Law Review, the oldest continuously published law journal in the Pacific Northwest.

Like Smith, Alley is a board member of LESA and LIP. Alley also sits on the Dean’s Student Advisory Council. In addition to competing in the ABA’s negotiation competition, Alley will be heading to Bangkok, Thailand, from Feb. 26 through March 3 to compete in the Bangkok Business Challenge, where she will pitch a business plan for a financial services firm with her teammates.

Smith and Alley are grateful that the law school makes it possible for students to participate in these national competitions, and considers it one of the many important reasons to attend Oregon Law.

“The competition is going to be important to my future career,” said Smith. “That’s a highlight of the law school —you get to participate in a national moot court competition.”

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