Oregon Law students win ABA Negotiation National Championship
In early February, Oregon Law students KaLynn Alley and Lara Smith competed in the national finals of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Law Student Division Negotiation Competition in Dallas, Texas, and took home the title as national champions.
The team's coach, Josh Gordon, director of the law school's Competition Not Conflict program, had nothing but positive comments about their success: "I cannot stress enough what a pleasure it is to coach this team. To witness them skillfully adapt and learn, with a balance of confidence and accurate self-reflection, speaks to the tremendous potential of these two women."
The ABA Negotiation National Championship is a highly competitive competition among 24 teams from around the country that finished top in their respective regions. Alley and Smith qualified for the national competition after winning the intra-school competition among Oregon Law students, and the ABA's regional competition for Region 10, which took place at Oregon Law in November 2012.
On the first day of the national championship, Alley and Smith competed in two rounds of negotiation and learned from each round.
"We learned pretty quickly that the judges in Texas had different preferences than the judges we've encountered in Oregon," said Smith. "Professor Gordon encouraged us to lighten up and throw a bit of humor and analogies into the competition to adapt. Comparing our clients' situation to a box of cracker jacks or a Chinese finger trap, for example. We got really good responses once we learned that."
An aspect of the competition that Smith found notable was how much better prepared she and Alley were to negotiate, despite not spending as much time prepping material as the other teams. This may speak to the significant amount of time the two spent preparing prior to the competition.
"The national championship was the direct result of Lara and KaLynn, two brilliant, hard working students, putting in months of preparation on theory and skill in negotiation," said Gordon.
In the final round, the competition was down to four teams — Oregon Law, Georgia State University College of Law, Michigan State College of Law and Hamline Law — all with strong negotiation programs. Alley and Smith were the only all female team in the finals.
Now, after claiming the ABA Negotiation Championship title, Alley and Smith will go on to represent the U.S. and Canada at the International Competition in July at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, Calif., where they will compete against teams from Germany, India, Japan, Russia, Scotland and other countries around the world.