Negotiation Team Takes First Place at National Tournament

April 04, 2007

Liberty University School of Law third-year students Allison Landrum and Mark Stewart captured first place in the 2007 Robert R. Merhige National Environmental Negotiation Competition last weekend. The tournament, hosted by the University of Richmond School of Law, included 18 teams from law schools around the country.

On the first day of the two-day tournament, each team competed in two rounds with the top eight teams advancing to semi-finals held the following day. After a semi-final round, the Liberty team advanced to the finals, along with three other teams. At the end of the final round, Ms. Landrum and Mr. Stewart were declared the champions by a panel of judges which included the Dean of the University of Richmond School of Law, a senior justice on the Virginia Supreme Court, and an attorney who practices in the area of law which was the subject of the competition.

Assistant Professors of Law David Gilbert and Joel Hesch served as faculty advisors and coaches. Additionally, local attorney and Liberty University alum Josh Dalrymple spent time helping to prepare the students for competition prior to the event.

Professor Hesch was impressed with the performance. “Winning the negotiation competition is an outstanding achievement. Negotiations are essential aspects of real life practice of law. For Liberty University to win this competition demonstrates not only the strength of the school’s skills programs, but the exceptional abilities of our students. We are very proud of their accomplishment.”

Professor Gilbert agreed. “I had the privilege of coaching Mr. Stewart and Mrs. Landrum during two competitions this school year. In the first tournament, they went undefeated in head-to-head competition; though, they did not score enough points to advance to the national competition. In this national tournament, they further refined their skills, reaching the point where they could discern the best negotiation tactic for rapidly-changing situations. They were outstanding, masterful even. The skills they learned will serve them well in practice. The head judge of the competition complimented them, stating that they could easily step into real negotiations with veteran attorneys and reach very good results for their clients.”

Second-year students Derek Bush and Jamie Sinnott also competed in the tournament, but were eliminated after two rounds. One of the teams they faced ultimately placed third. The competition included teams from Regent University School of Law, University of Virginia School of Law, University of North Carolina School of Law, Rutgers School of Law, Stetson University College of Law, and the University of South Dakota School of Law.

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